Pac-12 top 25 for 2011: No. 14

August, 10, 2011
8/10/11
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see the final post-2010 top 25 here. It doesn't, however, include players from Colorado or Utah.

14. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

2010 numbers: Kalil started all 13 games at left offensive tackle as a sophomore. Oh, and he blocked a PAT against Notre Dame.

2010 ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Kalil: Kalil is an interesting case. Not only did he not earn first- or second-team All-Pac-10 honors last year, he didn't even receive honorable mention. Yet it was he who was tapped -- as a redshirt sophomore -- to protect Matt Barkley's blindside, not first-team All-Conference pick -- and the No. 9 overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft -- Tyron Smith. Last year, USC ranked third in the conference in rushing (190 yards per game) and gave up the third fewest sacks (18), so while the Trojans O-line was maligned as underachieving and is a big question in 2011, there was some measurable success. Further, the 6-foot-6, 295-pound Kalil is projected by just about everyone to be a first-round draft pick this spring -- perhaps even top-five. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper rates him No. 3 overall on his "Big Board," writing, "Another NFL-ready offensive lineman at Southern Cal. Kalil has the size, athleticism, footwork and bloodlines. He projects as a blindside tackle." His brother Ryan is a former USC All-American and is presently one of the NFL's best centers, while father Frank also played in the NFL, ergo the bloodlines. Our top-25 rankings don't always prioritize NFL draft projections, but Kalil's are so bright that he gets elevated here.

15. Delano Howell, S, Stanford
16. Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
17. Rodney Stewart, RB, Colorado
18. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
19.
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
20. Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State
21. Robert Woods, WR, USC
22. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
23. David Paulson, TE, Oregon
24. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
25. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

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