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Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 24

By Kevin Gemmell

Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 continues.

Most of this looks back but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2011 postseason Top 25 here.

24. Isi Sofele, RB, Cal

2011 numbers: Appeared in all 13 games for the Bears last season, rushing for 1,322 yards on 252 carries with 10 touchdowns. Had six catches for 33 yards.

2011 postseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Sofele: You might have heard the rumblings that Cal is going to switch to more of a committee approach this year with its running game. And if that's the case and Sofele doesn't match last year's numbers or contributions, so be it. The postseason rankings will reflect that. But for now, given what he did last season, you can't leave him off this list. Sofele was one of seven backs in the Pac-12 last year to clear 1,000 yards, finishing fifth in the conference with 1,322 yards and 10 touchdowns on 252 carries. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and was one of only five backs to average more than 100 yards per game (101.7). And the simple fact is that when Sofele thrived, so did the Bears. Cal was 7-2 last season when Sofele carried the ball at least 18 times. When he does well, so does Cal. And perhaps taking a few carries away from him will make him a more productive, well-rested back. Only Utah's John White (316) and Washington's Chris Polk (293) carried the ball more than Sofele. So while we might see fewer carries from the 5-foot-8, 190-pound back, we might also see better carries.

No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State