Pac-12: 2011 Pac-12 postseason Top 25

A review of the Pac-12's top 25

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
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Our postseason list of the Pac-12's top-25 players is complete.

You can review it here.

Here are some quick breakdowns for you to chew on (remember, because we had an, er, tie at No. 12, there are 26 players on the Pac-12's top-25).

By unit
Offense
: 19
Defense: 7

The Pac-12 is an offensive league. The SEC doesn't have to worry about leaving off a quarterback who might be a first-day NFL draft pick (Arizona State's Brock Osweiler).

Also, offensive players are easier to evaluate. A defensive tackle who clogs the middle but doesn't get many numbers is harder to measure than a quarterback, running back or wide receiver.

By team
USC ... 7
Stanford ... 6
Oregon ... 5
California, Utah, Washington ... 2
Arizona, Washington State ... 1
Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State & UCLA ... 0

USC, Stanford and Oregon dominated. Makes sense: All three were top-10 teams, and no other Pac-12 squads were ranked.

As for the teams with no players: Arizona State's top candidates were Osweiler, running back Cameron Marshall and receiver Gerell Robinson. If the Sun Devils hadn't finished with a six-game losing streak, it's hard to imagine at least one of them wouldn't have made the list.

Colorado had only All-Pac-12 player: second-team offensive tackle David Bakhtiari. Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer, who earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors, was given consideration. He's almost certain to be on the preseason top-25.

UCLA didn't have any All-Conference players.

By position
QB ... 5
WR ... 5
RB ... 4
OL ... 3
TE... 2
LB ... 2
DE ... 2
DT... 1
CB ... 1
S ... 1

Every position group -- other than special teams -- got at least one player. That happens in large part because while making the list you think, "Who's the best guy in the conference at this position?"

Who's coming back?

2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
5. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
7. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
8. Robert Woods, WR, USC
11. Keith Price, QB, Washington
12 De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon
13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
15. Keenan Allen, WR, California
16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC
20. Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
21. John White, RB, Utah
23. Nickell Robey, CB, USC
24. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

With 14 guys from the list coming back in 2012, that means 11 spots open up for the preseason top-25.

Want a reason folks think so highly of USC: Five of the 14 guys coming back in 2012 are from USC. And it's a heck of a list.

And how tough is it going to be to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors at receiver in 2012?

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 1

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players ends at No. 1.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2011 numbers: Luck passed for 3,517 yards and 37 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 2011, completing 71.3 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 150 yards and two TDs. He ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency.

Preseason ranking: No. 1.

Making the case for Luck: Luck not only is going to be the top overall pick in the NFL draft this spring, he would have been the top overall pick in 2011. Simply, he's the best QB prospect in a generation. Of course, you've heard this all before. He was No. 1 in this ranking in 2010 as well. First, there's the physical side: A 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame that ran a 4.69 40 at the NFL combine and jumped better than any QB. Luck is the pure pro-style pocket passer who secretly moonlights as an outstanding all-around athlete. Then there's the head. Luck is not just a smart guy, he's a Stanford smart guy. The architectural design major had a 3.48 GPA. And he's not just Stanford smart: He's football smart. No college football player in the nation -- perhaps in years -- had as much play-calling responsibility at the line of scrimmage this year as Luck. The Cardinal offense, playing with second-tier talent at receiver, averaged 43.2 points per game, which ranked seventh in the nation. Finally, there's character and moxie. While Luck is highly competitive, he's also as humble as they come -- authentically so. An NFL team is never going to have to worry about Luck getting into trouble. Luck has been burdened with high expectations since 2009 when NFL scouts started whispering about him. He's not only lived up to those expectations, he's eclipsed them. The only wart on his résumé? All together Oregon fans: He failed to beat Oregon the past two seasons, which cost him shots at the national championship.

2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

4. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

5. Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford

6. Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal

7. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

8. Robert Woods, WR, USC

9. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

11. Keith Price, QB, Washington

12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 4

March, 7, 2012
3/07/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

4. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

2011 numbers: Zero. That's the most important number there is when evaluating a left tackle. USC's big man didn't allow a sack this season while helping USC's offense go for 162.6 yards per game on the ground and 294.2 per game in the air. As a unit, USC's offensive line allowed just eight sacks all season which was tops in the conference and second best nationally.

Preseason ranking: No. 14

Making the case for Kalil: He's one of those guys that you don't really need to make a case for. Look at him -- his ridiculously athletic 6-foot-7, 295-pound frame -- and you know he's a special player. Pre-draft evaluators actually tag him as a slightly better run blocker than pass protector at this point -- though he's going to get every opportunity to showcase himself and improve as the first offensive linemen taken in this year's draft. He plays with a controlled nastiness that sets the good collegiate linemen apart from the great ones. His list of honors and achievements is vast. Within the conference, he was a first-team performer while also earning the league's Morris Trophy for outstanding offensive lineman -- as voted on by opposing defensive linemen. He was also on the first-team All-America lists of Walter Camp, Pro Football Weekly and YahooSports.com and was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award.

5. Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford

6. Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal

7. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

8. Robert Woods, WR, USC

9. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

11. Keith Price, QB, Washington

12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 5

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

5. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford

2011 numbers: Finished the season with 52 total tackles, including 33 solo stops. But the real damage was behind the line of scrimmage, where he finished with a conference best 17.5 tackles for a loss (the closest players behind him at 14.5). He was also second in the conference with 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.

Preseason ranking: No. 19

Making the case for Thomas: No defensive player in the conference created more havoc in the backfield than Thomas, who instantly bolsters Stanford's defense next season with his decision to return for another year. He was one of the top run-stoppers on the conference's best rush defense, which yielded just 84.4 yards per game. What makes the first-team all-conference performer's season all the more impressive is that he still put up monster numbers without inside linebacker Shayne Skov playing next to him most of the season. Without Skov, teams were able to scheme just for Thomas, often committing two linemen or a lineman and a back to slow him down. Sometimes it worked, a lot of times it didn't. Thomas was also named to the Sporting News first-team All-America squad. At 6-4, 240-pounds, he had a chance to crack the second round of the NFL draft with a strong showing at the combine, but instead he headlines a Stanford defense that returns six of seven starters up front next year. ESPN's Mel Kiper ranks Thomas the No. 1 senior outside linebacker returning next season. Insider

6. Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal

7. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

8. Robert Woods, WR, USC

9. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

11. Keith Price, QB, Washington

12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 6

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
9:00
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

6. Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal

2011 numbers: Finished tied for first in the Pac-12 with 69 solo tackles and fifth overall with 107 stops. Tied for second in the conference with 14.5 tackles for a loss to go with three sacks, two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries.

Preseason ranking: No. 16.

Making the case for Kendricks: He was the best defensive player on the No. 1 total defense in the conference (statistically speaking). Kendricks was selected first-team All-Pac-12 and crowned the conference defensive player of the year for his efforts. He leaves Cal as one of it's all-time greatest defensive players, totaling 258 tackles in his career -- ninth on Cal's all-time list. The Bears' ironman played in all 51 games during his Cal career and in 2011 was a second-team All-American selection by Phil Steele, third-team by Yahoo! Sports and Sports Illustrated honorable mention. He's the school's all-time leader in tackles for a loss. Five times in 2011 he reached double-digit tackles, including a season-high 15 stops in a loss to Washington and 13 tackles in a loss to Stanford. He followed up a stellar 2011 with an equally impressive performance at the combine that have many thinking he could crack the second round.

7. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

8. Robert Woods, WR, USC

9. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

11. Keith Price, QB, Washington

12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 7

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

7. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

2011 numbers: Lotulelei had 44 total tackles, with nine coming for a loss. He had 1.5 sacks, a pass break-up, forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Preseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Lotulelei: How dare the Pac-12 blog vote an interior defensive lineman ahead of all these scintillating offensive stars! Well, go ask any interior offensive lineman who tried to block Lotulelei last season -- almost always with a second interior offensive lineman helping. We'll wait here. Da da dum tee dum. You're back! They crumpled onto the ground and yelled, "Noooooo!" Yeah, that's what we thought. After all, Pac-12 offensive linemen voted Lotulelei, just a wee bit at 6-foot-3, 325 pounds, the best defensive lineman in the conference in 2011, which earned him the coveted Morris Trophy. He also earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors and then opted to come back for his senior season, even though he likely would have been a first-day pick in the NFL draft. The toughest things to find on the West Coast -- other than good barbecue restaurants -- are A-list interior defensive linemen. That's what Lotulelei is. If you plopped him into any Pac-12 defense, he wouldn't put up sexy numbers but that defense would dramatically improve statistically. The belief here is that Lotulelei should get preseason All-American attention.

8. Robert Woods, WR, USC

9. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

11. Keith Price, QB, Washington

12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 8

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

8. Robert Woods, WR, USC

2011 numbers: Woods caught 111 passes for 1,292 yards with 15 TDs.

Preseason ranking: No. 21

Making the case for Woods: Woods, first-team All-Pac-12, earned first-team All-American honors from the AP, The Sporting News and was second-team with Walter Camp. While he fell off a bit at season's end, almost entirely due to injury, there was no question the 6-foot-1, 180 pounder was the best receiver in the conference. His 9.2 receptions per game was No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 4 in the nation. His 107.7 yards receiving per game were No. 2 in the conference and No. 8 in the nation. His 15 TDs ranked first in the conference. He didn't do as well as he did in 2010 in the return game, but he still made opposing coaches very nervous whenever he touched the ball. His most memorable game came against Arizona, when he caught 14 passes for 255 yards. One of his two TDs went for 82 yards. He also set a school record with 17 catches in the opener against Minnesota.

9. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

11. Keith Price, QB, Washington

12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 9

February, 29, 2012
2/29/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

No. 9. Chris Polk, RB, Washington

2011 numbers: Polk rushed for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns on 293 carries. He averaged 114.5 yards per game on the ground, 5.1 yards per carry and also caught 31 balls and four touchdowns.

Preseason ranking: No. 4.

Making the case for Polk: The first-team All-Pac-12 performer finished third in the conference in total rushing yards and was an All-America honorable mention from Sports Illustrated. He holds or is near the top of every UW rushing record and his 4,049 career rushing yards in second all time. Some of his 2011 highlights include 147 yards and a touchdown in the Alamo bowl, 144 yards rushing (four touchdowns) and 100 yards receiving (one touchdown) against Arizona (becoming the first Husky to have 100 rushing and receiving yards in the same game) and a season high 189 rushing yards against Utah. At 5-11, 222 pounds, he's a powerful runner, but also had the breakaway speed that produced eight plays of 30 yards or more -- including three touchdowns runs of 30-plus yards and a 70-yard touchdown reception against Cal.

No. 10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

No. 11. Keith Price, QB, Washington

No. 12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 10

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues as we now move into the top 10.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

No. 10. Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford

2011 numbers: Martin protected QB Andrew Luck's blindside and the Cardinal gave up just 11 sacks in 2011, which tied for seventh fewest in the nation. The Cardinal also ranked 18th in the nation with 210.6 yards rushing per game.

Preseason ranking: No. 10

Making the case for Martin: The case will best be made for Martin when he's a first-round NFL draft choice this spring. The 6-foot-6, 304-pound junior opted to enter the draft a year early after earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors for a second consecutive year after being honorable mention as a redshirt freshman. Martin was a preseason first-team Playboy preseason All-America selection and made a number of postseason All-American teams, including Walter Camp (first team) and AP (second team). For two years in a row, Stanford has had the best offensive line in the conference -- in 2010, the Cardinal allowed just six sacks and rushed for 213.8 yards per game. Martin was the cornerstone both years.

No. 11 Keith Price, QB, Washington

No. 12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 11

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

No. 11: Keith Price, QB, Washington

2011 numbers: Let's start with the 33 passing touchdowns. That would be a UW single-season record. Then, there's the 3,063 passing yards -- second all time at Washington. The 66.9 completion percentage and 161.09 passing efficiency? Record and record.

Preseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Price: How does an unranked player catapult to No. 11? You start by putting up numbers that get you in the conversation with Pac-12 quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. You shock the rest of the conference with efficiency and accuracy traditionally not seen from a sophomore, let alone a first-time starter. You make a fanbase forget about Jake what's-his-name -- that first-round draft pick you replaced. And you do it all on bad knees, bad ankles and with a bad shoulder. The full, healthy Price was finally unleashed in the Alamo Bowl and he rushed for his first three touchdowns of the year and threw for another four. He said he's dedicating himself this offseason to putting on more weight so he can stay healthy. If the poised pocket quarterback and the athletic runner can all come together for a full season next year, expect this dynamic football player to warrant some legitimate Heisman buzz.

12. Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 12

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

No. 12 (tie). Darron Thomas, QB & De'Anthony Thomas, WR-RB, Oregon

2011 numbers: Darron Thomas completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,761 yards with 33 TDs and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 206 yards and three scores. De'Anthony Thomas rushed for 595 yards and seven TDs, averaging 10.8 yards per carry. He caught 46 passes for 605 yards and nine TDs. He averaged 27.3 yards per kick return with two TDs.

Preseason ranking: Darron Thomas was No. 3. De'Anthony Thomas was unranked.

Making the case for the Thomases: No doubting these Thomases! (Yes, this was a screw-up. Yes, one of these guys was inadvertently -- stupidly -- left off of the master top-25 list when the countdown began. So this is the best way to make sure they both get included. The good news is this is about where both would rank). Darron Thomas had a good season but fell a bit in our overall estimation -- he threw and ran for fewer yards than in 2010 -- while De'Anthony Thomas will be the highest rated true freshman. Darron Thomas, despite surprising many with his decision to enter the NFL draft a year early, ranks first in career touchdown passes (66) for Oregon, seventh in passing yards (5,910) and sixth in total offense (6,633). He is the third player in Pac-12 history (USC’s Matt Leinart 2003-04, Stanford’s Andrew Luck 2010-11) with consecutive seasons with 30 or more touchdown passes. And he was outstanding in the Rose Bowl, completing 17 of 23 for 268 yards with three touchdown’s and one interception in the win over Wisconsin.

De'Anthony Thomas was even more outstanding in the Rose Bowl, with a team-high 314 all-purpose yards, carrying the ball twice for 155 yards and two TDs, including a stunningly explosive 91 yard bolt. He also caught four passes for 34 yards. De'Anthony Thomas was the Pac-12 co-offensive freshman of the year and earned first team All-Conference honors as a kick returner. He was the only player in the nation with at least 400 yards rushing, receiving and kick returning. He ranked 11th nationally in all-purpose yards with 147.8 ypg. He earned numerous freshman All-American honors and is already being mentioned as a leading 2012 Heisman Trophy candidate.

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 13

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

13. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

2011 numbers: Wilson caught 82 passes for 1,388 yards with 12 touchdowns.

Preseason ranking: No. 25

Making the case for Wilson: Wilson ranked first in the Pac-12 and sixth in the nation with 115.7 yards receiving per game. His 12 touchdown receptions ranked second in the conference. His 16.9 yards per catch ranked third. Everyone who played Washington State knew this: Wilson is the Cougars' most dangerous weapon. And yet Wilson just kept catching passes. In the Cougs' two conference wins -- over Colorado and Arizona State -- he came up particularly big. He hauled in the a 63-yard touchdown with 1:10 left to complete a 31-27 comeback win in Boulder. And he caught eight passes for 223 yards -- yeah, that's 27.9 yards per catch -- and three TDs against the Sun Devils. While Wilson earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors behind USC's Robert Woods and California's Keenan Allen, it's not unreasonable to counter that the 6-foot-4, 183-pound sophomore had the best season of any receiver in the conference in 2011. And with 2,394 yards receiving in two years, he's on pace to write his name in the Washington State and Pac-12 record books.

14. David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 14

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top-25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

No. 14: David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

2011 numbers: Tough to quantify an offensive lineman's success. You have to look at the success of the running backs (Stanford's were very good) and the amount of sacks yielded (also very good) as measuring sticks. I don't think Stanford keeps track of pancake blocks, but DeCastro could probably open an IHOP.

Preseason ranking: No. 24.

Making the case for DeCastro: The word dominant comes to mind. DeCastro plays the game with a punch-you-in-the-mouth mentality that made him a First-Team All-American (Walter Camp, AFCA, FWAA, AP, Sporting News) and an Outland Trophy finalist. The two-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer is widely regarded as the best run-blocking lineman in the country, and the rare guard that will likely be drafted in the first round. Looking at raw numbers, Stanford rushed for 210.6 yards per game -- a lot of them behind DeCastro -- and it gave up just 11 sacks. What gets lost in the mix is that Stanford had three new starters on the offensive line this season. DeCastro challenged all three to elevate their games, and by the third week, they were a cohesive unit. Don't be surprised to see him starting immediately in the NFL next season.

15. Keenan Allen, WR, California

16. Marqis Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 15

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
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Our countdown of the Pac-12's top-25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

No. 15 Keenan Allen, WR, California

2011 numbers: Allen caught 98 passes for 1,343 yards with six touchdowns. He averaged 13. 7 yards per reception.

Preseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Allen: Allen earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors after ranking second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards. His 103.3 receiving yards per game ranked 10th in the nation in third in the conference. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior put up his huge numbers despite Cal quarterback Zach Maynard -- Allen's half-brother -- ranking 69th in the nation and 10th in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency. If Maynard improves in 2012, Allen's numbers should go up, particularly with the graduation of second-leading receiver Marvin Jones. If there was a downside to Allen's 2011 season, it was him playing better over the first half of the season -- he averaged 138 yards receiving per game in the first six games -- than the second, when he failed to eclipse 100 yards receiving over the final seven games. And you can be sure he'd like to reach the endzone a few more times.

16. Marquis Lee, WR, USC

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 16

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
9:00
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top-25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

No. 16 Marqise Lee, WR, USC

2011 numbers: Lee caught 73 passes for 1,143 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also averaged 28.5 yards on 10 kickoff returns, with an 88-yard TD.

Preseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Lee: Lee, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, was the Trojans' "other" super frosh receiver, but he ended up having the season many predicted for George Farmer and was every bit the equal of All-American Robert Woods by season's end. Lee led the Trojans with 15.7 yards per reception and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors. He would have led the conference in kickoff returns if he had enough touches to qualify. Further, Lee really stepped up late in the season when Woods was banged-up. He caught seven of his 11 TD passes over the final five games and hauled in 21 passes for 411 yards in the final two -- wins over Oregon and UCLA. Lee and Woods will be widely regarded as the best WR tandem in the nation in 2012. Both will be All-American candidates. (And, don't look now, but it might be harder to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors at WR than All-American honors.)

17. Nick Perry, DE, USC

18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

19. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

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

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