Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 3


Our countdown of the top 25 players in the 2012 season continues.

You can see the preseason top 25 here.

No. 3: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

2012 numbers: Lee caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also rushed 13 times for 106 yards. And returned a kickoff 100 yards for a TD.

Preseason ranking: No. 9

Making the case for Lee: It's pretty simple: Lee, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound true sophomore, was a unanimous All-American because he was the best receiver in the nation this season. Some might argue he was the best overall player in the nation. He ranked second in the nation in both receptions per game (9.08) and receiving yards per game (132.38). His 345 yards receiving at Arizona set a Pac-12 record and also were the fifth-most in FBS history. Lee produced three of the top four receiving games in the conference this year -- the Arizona performance, 197 yards versus Hawaii and 192 yards at Utah. Five times he went over 150 yards receiving. It wasn't like teams didn't know he was coming. He was a 1,000-yard receiver as a true freshman. Further, the Trojans other top receiving target, Robert Woods, was a unanimous All-American the year before. You'd think Lee would have had to share the ball more. Yet Lee was so difficult to stop, so tempting to target, that it's possible -- probable perhaps -- that the Trojans strangely inconsistent offense this year looked to Lee too often. That, however, isn't Lee's fault. Lee posted a spectacular season that wasn't appreciated enough because his team was so massively disappointing overall.

No. 4: Matt Scott, QB, Arizona

No. 5: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

No. 6: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

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