Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Pac-12 top 25 for 2011: No. 24
By Kevin Gemmell
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2011 begins, but now with the benefit of hindsight!
You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.
No. 24: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
2011 numbers: Taylor rushed for 1,330 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 102.3 yards per game. He also added 25 catches and a pair of receiving scores.
Preseason ranking: Unranked.
Making the case for Taylor: The fact that he rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a four -- sometimes five-back system -- is impressive enough. But Taylor was also the most complete back in David Shaw's stable. He was the headlining runner in the second most productive rushing attack in the conference. Taylor showed good hands out of the backfield, rarely took negative plays and was the strongest blocker of all of the Stanford backs. He netted 1,363, which means he only had 33 negative yards all year. Taylor now has back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his belt and has to be considered one of the top backs returning to the conference. With a good season in 2012 he'll be a strong NFL prospect.