Pac-12 top 25 for 2013: No. 7


Our countdown of the Pac-12’s top 25 preseason players in 2013 continues.

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 2012 postseason top 25 here.

7. Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford

2012 numbers: Murphy had 56 total tackles and led Stanford in both tackles for loss (18) and sacks (10). He also had an interception -- returned 40 yards for a touchdown -- a forced fumble, five pass defenses and a team-high six QB hurries.

2012 postseason ranking: No. 16

Making the case for Murphy: An AP third-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 pick in 2012, Murphy now gets his chance to shine as the biggest playmaker for perhaps the best front seven in college football. The three-year starter was named second-team preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated, Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. He is on the watch list for the Bednarik, Nagurski, Butkus and Lombardi awards. He was a seminfinalist last fall for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's top linebacker. The 6-foot-6, 261-pounder fronted a 2012 defense that led the conference in scoring (17.2 points per game), total and rushing defense. Oregon fans might remember that Murphy's two sacks in last year's nailbiter won by the Cardinal came in the fourth quarter and overtime. Over the past two seasons, he's compiled 16.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss. While South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney and UCLA's Anthony Barr are the nation's two best outside linebackers, Murphy probably ranks third. It's unlikely he last past the second round of the 2014 NFL draft.

8. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

9. David Yankey, OG, Stanford

10. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State

11. Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford

12. Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State

13. Austin Seferian Jenkins, TE, Washington

14. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

15. Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

16. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

17. Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford

18. Xavier Su'a-Filo, OL, UCLA

19. Morgan Breslin, OLB, USC

20. Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon

21. Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State

22. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

23. Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon

24. Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State

25. Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford