Thursday, August 25, 2011
Who just missed the top-25?
By Ted Miller
With the No. 3 name -- Oregon QB Darron Thomas -- now published on our countdown of the top-25 players in the Pac-12, it's probably fairly obvious who are going to be Nos. 1 and 2.
Make that really obvious, considering the top-two players from the 2010 postseason list are back in 2011.
So who just missed?
We'll tell you. But before we do, some perspective.
Here are the 11 players who returned from the final 2010 tally.
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
4. Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon
6. Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
7. Chris Polk, RB, Washington
11. Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State
13. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
14. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
22. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
23. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
Obviously, they weren't going to get dropped from the list, unless, as with Arizona State CB Omar Bolden, they suffered a serious injury before the season began. So that meant 10 of 25 spots were already taken. Divvying up just 15 remaining spots among 12 teams is almost certain to chafe a few fans.
So here's the slate of folks who were considered and will be candidates to earn their way onto the postseason list.
Justin Washington, DT, Arizona
Paul Vassallo, LB, Arizona
Garth Gerhart, C, Arizona State
Junior Onyeali, DE, Arizona State
Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
Keenan Allen, WR, California
Ryan Miller, OG, Colorado
John Boyett, S, Oregon
Lance Mitchell, S, Oregon State
James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Tony Dye, S, UCLA
Nickell Robey, CB, USC
Nick Perry, DE, USC
Jordan Wynn, QB, Utah
Tony Bergstrom, OT, Utah
Chaz Walker, LB, Utah
Hau'oli Jamora, DE, Washington
Travis Long, DE, Washington State
Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
That's a heck of a list, eh.
Who were the last cuts? In no particularly order: Bergstrom, Boyett, Miller, Onyeali and Wynn.
If Oregon State receiver James Rodgers had been healthy this preseason, he would have ranked in the top-10. He was sixth in the preseason last year, after all.
In fact, a review of last year's preseason list should help smooth the feelings of Beavers fans, who are surely aware no Oregon State player made the preseason top-25. With three of the top-six in 2010, including No. 1 Jacquizz Rodgers, it's probably unreasonable to believe I have a bias against ranking the Beavers.
Utah fans also expressed some frustration because no Ute was on the list. But who would they knock off this top-25? Bergstrom, who made our preseason All-Pac-12 team, and Walker earned only second-team All-Mountain West honors in 2010. Wynn didn't get honorable mention, which surprised the heck out of me.
If Utah surges in its first year in the Pac-12, it's almost certain a Ute will be on the postseason list.
Further, plenty of guys not listed above are already on the radar, guys like Colorado receiver Paul Richardson and Oregon State receiver Markus Wheaton. I'd bet $1 that at least one member of Oregon's rebuilt front-seven ends up on the postseason list, and Arizona's secondary has some intriguing young talent.
Auditions for the postseason list start, by the way, on Sept. 3.