We continue our countdown of the Pac-10's 25 best players from 2010.
Note: Because we are ranking players based on this past season, it's Pac-10, not Pac-12.
Here are the preseason rankings (click each name to read the blurb).
No. 9. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
2010 numbers: Rodgers, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection, rushed for 1,184 yards with 14 touchdowns and caught 44 passes for 287 yards and three TDs.
Preseason ranking: No. 1
Making the case for Rodgers: It was a disappointing season for Rodgers and a disappointing season for Oregon State, while Oregon's LaMichael James produced a body of work that left little doubt who was the best running back in the Pac-10 -- and the state -- in 2010. Still, Rodgers put up good numbers by any measure, and his numbers are even better when you consider this detail: His offensive line failed him. The Beavers not only ranked ninth in the conference in rushing -- they got a total of 21 yards rushing per game from anyone other than Rodgers -- but they also yielded 35 sacks, which also ranked ninth in the conference. When brother James went down with a knee injury in game five at Arizona, the offense largely became "Jacquizz versus the world": He scored 17 of the Beavers 37 total TDs. Rodgers, typically a mellow sort, showed a lot of fire during the Beavers struggles -- he admitted his frustration multiple times -- but he also (at least from what we can gather) did it in a positive way, which is admirable. As it is, he turned in his third consecutive season with more than 1,000 yards rushing and pushed up to sixth on the Pac-10's career rushing list (3,877 yards), which is second on the Beavers all-time list behind Ken Simonton. Instead of returning next fall to make a run at the record, he opted to enter the NFL draft. It will be interesting to see where the diminutive but productive, multi-purpose runner is selected.
No. 10. Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 11. Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State
No. 12. Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon
No. 13 Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 14. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 15. Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
No. 16. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
No. 17. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 19. Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 20. Talmadge Jackson, CB, Oregon
No. 21. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 22. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
No. 23. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
No. 24. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 25. Shane Vereen, RB, California