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. 8. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
2010 numbers: Jordan finished with 62 tackles -- tops among Bears defensive linemen -- including 12.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles, broke up four passes and recovered a fumble.
Preseason ranking: No. 15
Making the case for Jordan: While Cal had a disappointing season, Jordan put it all together as a senior. The first-team All-Pac-10 selection may end up as the first conference player drafted by an NFL team this spring. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper presently projects him as going 18th overall in the first round. These rankings aren't based on NFL draft projections; they are based on what happened this season. But we'd be lying if we said that Jordan isn't a few notches higher due to the way he dominated at the Senior Bowl and put up impressive numbers at the combine. That further verified Jordan's maturation as a player. He began his career as a pure talent with good bloodlines -- his father, Steve, made the Pro Bowl six times as a tight end for the Minnesota Vikings -- and ended up as the best player on a defense that ranked first in the Pac-10 in yards surrendered (319 per game) and third in scoring (22.6 ppg). He was effective versus the run as well as rushing the passer and forced offensive coordinators to account for him on every play.
No. 9. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
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