- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our countdown of the top 25 players in the 2012 season continues.
No. 2: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
2012 numbers: He recorded 63 tackles (an extremely impressive number for a defensive tackle), tallied 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for a loss. He also broke up five passes and forced three fumbles.
Preseason ranking: Unranked.
Making the case for Sutton: It's rare that defensive linemen can completely alter games, let alone entire game plans. Sutton was that kind of player in 2012. He was literally a game-changer. With an explosive first-step from his tackle spot, no one in the league and few players nationally created more havoc in backfields than Sutton. He led the league in sacks and tackles for a loss per game and was honored with the league's Morris Trophy for top defensive lineman and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award. Between his sacks and TFLs, he accounted for 232 lost yards. Twelve of his sacks were solo jobs -- matched only by UCLA's Anthony Barr. Twenty-two of his tackles for a loss were solo -- matched by no one. Teams knew the consensus All-American was coming -- there just wasn't anything they could do to stop him. His 1.92 tackles for a loss were second nationally and he was third nationally with 1.08 sacks per game. He was crowned defensive MVP of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl with 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. With three teams that played in BCS bowl games last year on the 2013 docket (Wisconsin, Stanford, Notre Dame), the Sun Devils are fortunate to have Sutton back for another year after he opted to put the NFL off for another season. Once again, teams will know he's coming. Chances are, they won't be able to stop him.
No. 3: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
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
3dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller