- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 continues.
Most of this looks back, but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.
You can review our 2011 postseason Top 25 here.
20. Dion Bailey, LB, USC
2011 numbers: Bailey had 81 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and four pass breakups.
2011 postseason ranking: Unranked
Making the case for Bailey: Bailey earned Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011 after converting from safety. Fair to say the conversion was successful. He averaged 7.4 tackles per game -- he suffered a concussion against Stanford and missed the Colorado game -- which ranked seventh in the conference. He and fellow linebacker Hayes Pullard, who the Pac-12 blog also is quite high on, were the first freshmen to lead USC in tackles since records were first kept in 1954. He earned freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, CBSSports.com, YahooSports.com, FoxSportsNext.com and Phil Steele. He did that weighing just 202 pounds, so it's a good bet that a buffed and more seasoned Bailey -- he's up to 220 this summer -- is a threat to get some All-American attention. He's been named to a number of preseason watch lists, including the Butkus Award.
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