Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 19
By Kevin Gemmell
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top-25 players continues.
You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.
19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC
2011 numbers: McDonald finished third on the team with 67 tackles and led the Trojans with three interceptions. He also added five passes defended, a pair of breakups, 2.5 tackles for a loss and one blocked kick.
Preseason ranking: No. 12.
Making the case for McDonald: The first-team All-Pac-12 safety was maybe the most feared hitter in the conference -- for all of the right and all of the wrong reasons. After receiving previous warnings from the Pac-12, he was eventually suspended for half a game for an illegal hit on a Stanford receiver -- a fact with which coach Lane Kiffin respectfully disagreed. Now, with that bit of nasty business out of the way, you can't argue with the way McDonald plays center field. He was elected to the first team by the Pac-12 coaches for a reason. He brings NFL instincts to the position and makes wide receivers think twice about entering his line of sight. Mel Kiper rates McDonald as the top returning senior safety in the country next year and there is little reason to believe he won't put together another all-conference season.
20. Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
21. John White IV, RB, Utah
22. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
23. Nickell Robey, CB, USC
24. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
25. David Paulson, TE, Oregon