Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Pac-12 top 25 for 2011: No. 4
By ESPN.com staff
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.
4. Chris Polk, RB, Washington
2010 numbers: Polk ranked second in the Pac-10 with 1,415 yards rushing -- his 108.9 yards per game ranked 13th in the nation -- and he scored nine touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 180 yards.
2010 ranking: No. 7
Making the case for Polk: Polk, second-team All-Pac-10 in 2010, became a dominant running back over the home stretch of the 2010 season, when the Huskies won four in a row, including their first bowl victory since 2000. It was Polk, not QB Jake Locker, who ended up being the Huskies most important player. He rushed for 138 yards against UCLA, 86 at California -- including the winning fourth-and-1 plunge on the game's final play -- and 284 yards at Washington State, the second-best rushing total in school history. Then, in the Holiday Bowl against a good Nebraska defense, he rushed for 177 yards on a career-high 34 carries and was named the offensive MVP. His 260 total carries ranked second in the Pac-10 and were third-most in school history. The rising junior's second-consecutive 1,000-yard season pushed him to No. 6 on the Huskies all-time rushing list with 2,561 yards. Polk has become an all-around back. He's a good receiver, has break-away speed and is highly physical, gaining most of his yards after contact. The Huskies are breaking in a new QB -- Keith Price -- and the depth at running back is banged up. It's likely Polk will shoulder even more of the load in 2011, and he could put up numbers that earn him All-American and even Doak Walker Award consideration.
5. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
6. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
7. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
8. Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
9. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
10. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
11. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
12. T.J. McDonald, S, USC
13. Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
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