- 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.
13. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
2011 numbers: Rushed for 939 yards and 11 TDs. Also caught 17 passes for 184 yards and three TDs.
2011 postseason ranking: unranked
Making the case for Barner: Barner makes the biggest leap in the top 25 for an unranked player from 2011, in large part because the Pac-12's best backup running backs now becomes one of its best running backs. Perhaps the best. Barner's 78.2 yards rushing per game ranked eighth in the conference in 2011, which is pretty impressive for a backup. He also averaged a stout 6.2 yards per carry, which ranked third in the conference. That average shouldn't be surprising because Barner has averaged more than 6 yards per carry the past three seasons while backing up LaMichael James. He enters his senior season with 1,856 career rushing yards and 27 total TDs. Further, when James was hurt, Barner always proved a more than adequate replacement. He rushed for 171 yards on 31 carries against Arizona State, the first of three consecutive games over 100 yards rushing when James was banged up. His fourth 100-yard rushing game last year came against USC, when he went for 123 yards on 15 carries with two scores. And don't forget Barner's ability as a receiver. He caught two passes for 52 yards and a TD against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, and it may be unwise to view De'Anthony Thomas as the only Duck who can strike from multiple positions on the field. Not many returning backups get named to watch lists for the Maxwell Award (college player of the year), the Doak Walker Award (running back) and the Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player). Finally, Barner, who is best buds with James, is a humble, team-first guy who also can be insightful when talking about the Ducks, as you can see in this video. That doesn't count in these rankings, but it seems like it's worth noting.
No 14: Nickell Robey, CB, USC
No. 15: John White IV, RB, Utah
No. 16: John Boyett, S, Oregon
No. 17: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 18: Khaled Holmes, C, USC
No. 19: Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
No. 20: Dion Bailey, LB, USC
No. 21: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
No. 22: Curtis McNeal, RB, USC
No. 23: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
No. 24: Isi Sofele, RB, California
No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State