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Thursday, August 11, 2011
Pac-12 top 25 for 2011: No. 13

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see the final post-2010 top 25 here. It doesn't, however, include players from Colorado or Utah.

13. Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington

2010 numbers: Ta'amu had 39 tackles, five tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.

2010 ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Ta'amu: The case for Ta'amu is this: He's the best interior defensive lineman in the conference (it's not a terribly good year for interior linemen, by the way). The 6-foot-3, 330-pound senior, who was honorable mention All-Pac-10 last year,  could play his way into the first round of the NFL draft, particularly if he plays on a consistent basis like he did against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. In that game he recorded a sack, had a memorable fumble recovery and earned his team a safety when he was held in the end zone. Ta'amu struggled with his weight, focus and effort through much of his first two and a half seasons -- he's started 29 games -- but he's always been a load in the middle who was hard to move. Of course, at one point, he weighed about 380 pounds. At 330, he became a load who was hard to move and who also could be a disruptive playmaker. Sure, his numbers aren't spectacular, but he took up two blockers most plays, and if you watch film of Huskies games he always seems to be around the play, taking up space and making a nuisance of himself. And with the Huskies improvement on the defensive line, it will be harder for offensive lines to focus so much manpower on him, which means his sack and tackle for loss numbers should go up this fall.

14. Matt Kalil, OT, USC
15. Delano Howell, S, Stanford
16. Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
17. Rodney Stewart, RB, Colorado
18. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
19.
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
20. Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State
21. Robert Woods, WR, USC
22. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
23. David Paulson, TE, Oregon
24. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
25. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State