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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 9

By Kevin Gemmell

Our countdown of the top 25 players in 2012 continues.

You can see our preseason top 25 here.

No. 9: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

2012 numbers: He totaled 42 tackles (25 solo) and also notched 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered four of them. He also broke up four passes.

Preseason ranking: No. 2

Making the case for Lotulelei: Utah's All-America defensive tackle (Associated Press, Walter Camp) is projected by many to be a top-10 pick in this year's NFL draft. A dominant force in the middle, Lotulelei actually improved on his numbers in sacks and tackles for a loss from the previous season despite facing more double- and triple-teams. He helped the Utes boast the No. 2 rushing defense in the Pac-12, yielding 128.2 yards on the ground per game. He dips a bit from his preseason ranking, however, because he's the headliner on a Utah defense that, as a whole slipped, from last season (No. 1 in the league last year, yielding 20.2 points per game to No. 7 in 2012, allowing 25.1). But as an individual talent, he's clearly deserving of a spot in the top 10 and will make an NFL defensive coordinator very, very happy.

No. 10: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
No. 11Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
No. 12Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 13Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
No. 14Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 15Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
No. 16: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
No. 17
Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
No. 18Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
No. 19David Yankey, OL, Stanford
No. 20: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
No. 21Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
No. 22Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
No. 23Michael Clay, LB, Oregon
No. 24Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
No. 25Reggie Dunn, KR, Utah