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Pac-12 top 25 for 2011: No. 9

8/16/2011

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

You can see the final post-2010 top 25 here. It doesn't, however, include players from Colorado or Utah.

9. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

2010 numbers: Harris ranked No. 2 in the nation in punt returns (18.8 yards per return), with his four returns for touchdowns ranked first in the nation. He didn't become a starter until midseason, but he led the Pac-10 in interceptions (6) and passes defended (23). He returned one interception for a touchdown. He also had 33 tackles and recovered a fumble.

2010 ranking: No. 22

Making the case for Harris: Harris' playmaking earned him All-American attention after the 2010 season and before this upcoming campaign. He is an elite talent who needs to be more disciplined -- on and off the field -- and it's telling that he only earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors last season, behind cornerback teammate Talmadge Jackson (Harris was first-team as a punt returner). It also might be wise to revisit comments from defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. While some Oregon fans believe Harris is a superstar and budding high NFL draft choice, it's more accurate to see him as an unfinished product. But if he ever puts it all together, he could be something special. He did account for five touchdowns last year and grabbed an interception in the national title game -- just missing on a second due to a questionable call. Harris enters the season on indefinite suspension and will miss at least the LSU game. That is accounted for here, with a ranking slightly lower than he might deserve. If he grows up as a player and young man, expect him to be higher when we rank things again at season's end.

10. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

11. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

12. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

13. Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington

14. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

15. Delano Howell, S, Stanford

16. Mychal Kendricks, LB, California

17. Rodney Stewart, RB, Colorado

18. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington

19. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford

20. Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State

21. Robert Woods, WR, USC

22. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

23. David Paulson, TE, Oregon

24. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

25. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State