Our countdown of the Pac-12’s Top 25 players from the 2013 season continues.
You can review our 2013 preseason Top 25 here.
No. 6: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
2013 numbers: Murphy led the nation with 15 sacks, was second nationally with 23.5 tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, returned an interception for a touchdown and blocked a kick.
Preseason ranking: No. 7
Making the case for Murphy: Teammate Shayne Skov drew a lot of the attention, but for the last two seasons Murphy has been the ultimate difference-maker on a Stanford defense that was among the nation's elite. Not only did his 23.5 tackles for a loss rank second in the country, they went for a national-best 147 yards. Known mostly as a pass rusher -- he worked primarily at defensive end in Senior Bowl practices -- Murphy was also good against the run, where defensive coordinator Derek Mason used him to set the edge and funnel ball carriers back inside. He was one of three linebackers named to the ESPN.com All-America team. Surprisingly, he wasn't a finalist for any national awards, but he was a semifinalist for the Bednarik and Rotary Lombardi awards.