Our countdown of the top 25 players in the 2012 season continues.
No. 6: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
2012 numbers: Rushed for 1,767 yards on 278 carries (6.1 average), 135.9 yards per game and 21 touchdowns. He also caught 20 balls for 256 yards and two touchdowns.
Preseason ranking: No. 13
Making the case for Barner: Barner, a consensus All-American, and his predecessor and best buddy, LaMichael James, are peas in a pod. Or, if you don't like that cliché, just know they sit beside each other in the Oregon record book. Barner's 21 rushing touchdowns tie him with James for most in a single season for a Ducks back. Barner also is the school's second leading rusher behind James with 3,623 yards. His 5,869 career all-purpose yards are 21 yards shy of James' school record. He got the jump on James when he rushed for a school-record 321 yards on a career-high 38 attempts and tied for a career-high with five touchdowns in a victory at USC. While Barner operated mostly in James' shadow for three years, he entered the season as the Ducks' featured back and exceeded already high expectations, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors, which was darn near as impressive as his All-America honors, considering Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and UCLA's Johnathan Franklin also were named All-Americans. And, like James, Barner, rated the No. 5 available running back in the draft by Mel Kiper, is expected to have an NFL career. Most important, of course, Barner, understated but always insightful, is a member of the Pac-12 blog's All-Interview team. He will be missed by reporters as well as Ducks fans.
No. 7: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
No. 8: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
No. 9: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
No. 10: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
No. 11: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
No. 12: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 13: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
No. 14: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 15: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
No. 16: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
No. 17: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
No. 18: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
No. 19: David Yankey, OL, Stanford
No. 20: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
No. 21: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
No. 22: Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
No. 23: Michael Clay, LB, Oregon
No. 24: Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
No. 25: Reggie Dunn, KR, Utah