Pac-12: Top 25 players 2010

Re-ranking the Pac-10's top-25 players

February, 11, 2011
2/11/11
4:21
PM ET
Next week, the blog begins a countdown of the Pac-10's top-25 (not Pac-12 when we look back).

Many of you will be outraged.

Why? Because I am outraged at the limits of 25 spots, which means a number of top players -- even high NFL draft picks -- are going to get left off.

A number of players from our preseason top-25 list fall out for no justifiable reason, other than other players are more impossible to not include on the list.

You will send hate mail. I am already sending some to myself.

Just for reference, here's our preseason top-25.

No. 1. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
No. 2. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
No. 3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
No. 4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
No. 5. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
No. 6. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 1

July, 6, 2010
7/06/10
10:58
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players concludes.

No. 1. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

[+] EnlargeJacquizz Rodgers
Rick Scuteri/US PresswireJacquizz Rodgers racked up 1,962 yards rushing and receiving last season.
2009 numbers: The 5-foot-7, 188-pound junior ranked third in the conference with 1,440 yards rushing and ranked second with 78 receptions for 522 yards. He also scored 22 touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Rodgers was ranked fifth in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Rodgers: Rodgers is the only two-time first-team All-Pac-10 player back for the 2010 season and will be on most preseason short lists of Heisman Trophy candidates. He's earned preseason All-American honors from a number of publications and will be a leading candidate for the Doak Walker Award -- he was a semifinalist in 2009 -- which is given annually to the nation's best running back. Rodgers is an outstanding pure runner, his slashing style became a national sensation when he sliced and diced the touted USC defense for 186 yards and two TDs in 2008. But what ultimately distinguishes him -- and lands him atop this list -- is completeness as a player: He can run, catch and block. Heck, he's also passed for a touchdown. He's also durable -- see 24 career starts, including 14 in a row -- and he never fumbles (His one attributed fumble in 640 career touches in last year's Las Vegas Bowl was on a poorly thrown backward pass that wasn't Rodgers fault). He earned conference Offensive Player of the Year honors as a true freshman -- the first player to do that in conference history --- and enters the 2010 season with 2,693 career yards rushing and 32 TDs. (Both totals rank fifth on the Oregon State career list.) He ranked 23rd in the nation with 150.92 all-purpose yards per game in 2009 and his 22 touchdowns ranked second in the conference behind Toby Gerhart, well ahead of any other returning running back. If Rodgers opts to stay all four years and continues his current rate of production, he would finish second all-time in the Pac-10 with 5,386 career rushing yards behind USC's Charles White (6,245).

No. 2. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
No. 3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
No. 4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
No. 5. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
No. 6. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 2

July, 2, 2010
7/02/10
10:26
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 2. Jake Locker, QB, Washington

2009 numbers: The 6-foot-3, 226-pound Locker completed 58 percent of his passes for 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 388 yards and seven scores.

Most recent ranking: Locker was ranked sixth in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Locker: While this list isn't about NFL prospects, Locker's are hard to ignore. He's a certain first-round pick next spring and could go No. 1 overall. As for his standing in the Pac-10, Locker likely would be the No. 1 pick among conference coaches. Only Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, who has No. 4 on this list, would pause. The only reason Locker is not No. 1 is the guy ahead of him is so fabulously accomplished that his body of work can't be denied. Locker is the leading returning player in the conference in total offense and scoring (his 28 total TDs tied Stanford's Toby Gerhart and Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli). He accounted for 372 total yards in the 2009 opener against LSU, the ninth-best total in school history. He led the Huskies to an upset of USC with a clutch performance -- 4-for-4 for 56 yards -- on the game-winning drive. He accounted for five TDs in a season-ending win over California. The 2007 conference Freshman of the Year, his 2008 season ended after four games when he injured his thumb while trying to throw a downfield block, which tells you a lot about the Huskies captain. He enters the 2010 season with 5,374 career passing yards, which is sixth on the school's career chart, and he already is the school's all-time leading quarterback rusher. He's been picked twice in the Major League Baseball draft and is presently under contract with the Los Angeles Angels, though he has repeatedly said that football is his No. 1 sport.

No. 3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
No. 4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
No. 5. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
No. 6. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 3

July, 1, 2010
7/01/10
10:45
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

2009 numbers: The 5-foot-9, 180-pound sophomore set a Pac-10 freshman record with 1,546 yards rushing, which ranked second in the conference. His 118.92 yards per game ranked ninth in the nation. His 6.7 yards per carry ranked No. 1 among conference backs with at least 100 carries. He also scored 14 TDs and caught 17 passes for 168 yards.

Most recent ranking: James was ranked eighth in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for James: James is the best home-run threat in the conference, if not the nation. He led the nation last year with 21 carries over 20 yards, including four over 50. He averaged 133.5 yards per game rushing in the 11 games he started. He earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors, became Oregon's first freshman to earn Most Outstanding Player honors and was named to numerous freshmen All-American teams. He's been named second-team preseason All-American by NationalChamps.net and Sporting News. He will be a leading candidate for the Doak Walker Award, which is given annually to the nation's top running back. James has legitimate track speed: He placed 5th in the 2010 Pac-10 championships at 100 meters while posting a personal best time of 10.52 in the semifinals. He also anchored 4x100 relay to a fourth-place finish.

No. 4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
No. 5. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
No. 6. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 4

June, 30, 2010
6/30/10
10:32
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2009 numbers: The 6-foot-4, 235-pound sophomore led the Pac-10 in passing efficiency, completing 56 percent of his throws for 2,575 yards with 13 TDs and four interceptions. He also rushed for 354 yards and two touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Luck was ranked 23rd in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Luck: Well, Todd McShay made a case. He's projecting that Luck will be the top overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft this spring as a third-year sophomore. Writes McShay, "Luck has prototypical size (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) and is an underrated athlete. More importantly, he has a smooth over-the-top delivery, a strong arm and great touch as a passer." Luck -- the son of a former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck -- is smart, polished and can move outside the pocket. The only hole in his game is experience. But there's also this caveat: Having running back Toby Gerhart carrying the predominant offensive load in 2009 made things much easier for him as a first-year starter -- lots of single coverage on the perimeter. This year, he will be the centerpiece of the offense and he will be expected to lead and play accordingly. Of course, few folks believe he won't be up to the task. It will be very interesting at season's end to see who earns first-team All-Pac-10 quarterback.

No. 5. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
No. 6. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 5

June, 29, 2010
6/29/10
10:52
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 5. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

2009 numbers: The 6-foot-1, 311-pound senior recorded 43 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also forced four fumbles and recovered another.

Most recent ranking: Paea was ranked seventh in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Paea: The 2009 first-team All-Pac-10 defensive tackle and two-time team co-captain is perhaps the most powerful player in the nation. You've surely seen the video by now. It's likely that Paea will set a new bench press standard at the NFL combine next spring, after which he should cement his status as an early-round -- perhaps first-round -- draft pick. But Paea is not just strong. His 30-inch vertical jump and 4.37 shuttle run are defensive tackle records at Oregon State. He's an ex-rugby star who is still learning the nuances of football, but his explosive quickness combined with his power makes him almost unblockable one-on-one at the college level. His 19.5 career sacks rank third on the Beavers' career list. He's on the Lombardi, Outland and Nagurski watch lists. He's also made a number of preseason All-America lists: Phil Steele, Lindy's, Athlon and NationalChamps.net.

No. 6. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 6

June, 28, 2010
6/28/10
10:52
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 6. James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State

2009 numbers: The 5-foot-7, 188-pound senior ranked seventh in the nation and No. 1 in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards with 179.1 yards per game. He led the Pac-10 with 1,034 yards receiving and 91 receptions with nine touchdowns. He also rushed for 346 yards and ranked third in the conference with an average of 11.6 yards per punt return.

Most recent ranking: Rodgers was ranked ninth in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Rodgers: Despite his size, Rodgers, a Beavers co-captain, is the best returning receiver in the conference. But just mentioning that he was first-team All-Pac-10 at the position in 2009 does not sufficiently tell his story. Simply, Rodgers is an offensive weapon who can stress a defense in myriad ways as a runner, receiver or return man. As a freshman and sophomore -- Rodgers has started 27 career games -- he was a fly sweep specialist. Last year, he became an elite receiver. His 91 receptions broke the school single-season record and he enters 2010 with 161 career receptions, which presently ranks third all-time at Oregon State and is just 60 short of the school record held by 2005 Biletnikoff Award recipient Mike Hass (2002-05) at 220. His 1,849 career receiving yards ranks sixth on the school list; his 14 career receiving touchdowns is tied for seventh; and his six career 100-yard-plus receiving games is tied for sixth. Phil Steele named him a preseason third-team All-American and he was first-team for NationalChamps.net.

No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 7

June, 25, 2010
6/25/10
10:45
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

2009 numbers: The 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior led the nation with 10 interceptions. He also recorded 49 tackles, three tackles for a loss and seven pass defenses.

Most recent ranking: Moore was ranked 10th in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Moore: Moore is well on his way to becoming a consensus preseason first-team All-American. He not only led the nation in interceptions last year, his 10 picks were the most for any FBS player since 1993. He's a leading candidate for the Thorpe Award (best defensive back) and might even get Nagurski Award (best defensive player) consideration, seeing that he's on the preseason watch list. Moore has started every game since his true freshman year -- 25 games -- and was the Bruins first true freshman to start every game since Matt Ware did in 2001. His 13 career interceptions is already No. 7 on the school's all-time list. If Moore improves his run support -- reviews are mixed there -- he likely will be a first-round draft pick this spring, if he opts to leave early.

No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 8

June, 24, 2010
6/24/10
10:45
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 8. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA

2009 numbers: The 6-f00t-4, 254-pound junior recorded 75 tackles with 14.5 coming for a loss. He also had six sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Most recent ranking: Ayers was not ranked in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Ayers: The above sentence hurt to type. Just so wrong. Ayers should have been not only on our list last year, he probably should have been in the top half. This year, he might rank among the nation's top 25 players. The Pac-10 blog wasn't the only one who skulled an evaluation of Ayers. League coaches only gave him honorable mention all-conference honors. So what can we say about Ayers? Start with this: He was involved in 10 turnovers. Then consider this: Of those 10, he turned three into TDs (two interception returns, one fumble return). Go here and see how many Bruins scored more TDs last year than Ayers. And, of course, UCLA fans are recalling those two interceptions -- vs. Oregon and vs. Temple in the Eagle Bank Bowl -- which might have been the two most-spectacular defensive plays in the nation last year. Ayers makes spectacular plays because he's a spectacular athlete who might bolt a year early and end up a first-round NFL draft pick in 2011. He already was named first-team preseason All-American by Phil Steele, while The Sporting News tapped him second team. He's also on the watch list for the Nagurski Award, given annually to the nation's best defensive player.

No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California
No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 9

June, 23, 2010
6/23/10
10:41
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 9. Mike Mohamed, LB, California

2009 numbers: Mohamed led the Pac-10 with 112 tackles -- 8.6 per game -- with eight tackles for loss, two sacks, three interceptions, three QB hurries, three pass break-ups and one forced fumble.

Most recent ranking: The 6-foot-3, 238-pound senior was ranked 22nd in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Mohamed: Mohamed is the only returning linebacker who earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009 (he was honorable mention in 2008). He's already earned a spot on a number of preseason All-America teams, including Playboy and Phil Steele, and he's been named to the watch list for the Nagurski Award, the Rotary Lombardi Award and The Lott Trophy. He also has been named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team three times, earning first-team recognition in each of the last two campaigns.

No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 10

June, 22, 2010
6/22/10
10:48
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 10. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona

2009 numbers: The 5-foot-11, 182-pound junior tied for second in the Pac-10 with five interceptions and also was second overall with 14 passes defended. He had 71 total tackles and a forced fumble.

Most recent ranking: Wade was ranked 27th in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Wade: Simply put, Trevin Wade is the best returning cornerback in the conference. He earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors last year (the three other all-conference corners are gone). He's a ball hawk who, if he continues to improve, will follow previous Wildcats corners into the NFL. He needs three more picks to reach Arizona's all-time top-10 chart. Despite playing nickelback as a redshirt freshman in 2008, he tied for sixth in the conference with four interceptions. Wade also seems to play well in big games, turning in standout performances last year vs. Iowa, USC, Oregon State and Stanford. Phil Steele has rated Wade a preseason third-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-10.

No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 11

June, 21, 2010
6/21/10
10:42
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 11. Mason Foster, LB, Washington

2009 numbers: The 6-foot-2, 244-pound senior ranked seventh in the Pac-10 with 7.1 tackles per game. He also had 7.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, three interceptions -- one returned for a TD -- nine pass defenses, six forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Most recent ranking: Foster was not ranked in our final Pac-10 top-30 list last year.

Making the case for Foster: Foster, who earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors in 2009, ranking this high might surprise some folks. But the Pac-10 blog was remiss not including him on our final 2009 top 30 (and our really lame explanation is it seemed wrong to have two linebackers from the conference's No. 9 run defense on the list). But just start with this: Foster was responsible for creating 10 takeaways -- three picks, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. That's huge production. The Sporting News, in fact, named him first-team All-Pac-10 in 2009 and Phil Steele named him 2010 preseason All-Pac-10. If Foster takes another step forward his senior year, he could duplicate former linebacker teammate Donald Butler's climb in the NFL draft.

No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 12

June, 18, 2010
6/18/10
10:50
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 12. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona

2009 numbers: Elmore had 44 tackles with 11.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 2009.

Most recent ranking: Elmore was ranked 26th in our final Pac-10 top 30 list last year.

Making the case for Elmore: The 6-foot-5, 260-pound senior broke through last year when more heralded end Brooks Reed suffered a high ankle sprained that essentially ruined his season. That put pressure on Elmore to produce and he did, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors in the process. In fact, just getting an honorable mention from Pac-10 coaches created a bit of controversy. He was first-team All-Pac-10, according to Sporting News, and Phil Steele named him second-team All-Pac-10 after the 2009 season and preseason first-team heading into this year. At this point, Elmore and Reed look like the best tandem of ends in the conference. Both could put up big numbers, which would bolster a rebuilding defense. And bolster their NFL draft prospects.

No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 13

June, 17, 2010
6/17/10
10:52
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 13. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon

2009 numbers: The 6-foot-3, 231-pound senior led the Pac-10 with 11.5 sacks in 2009. He also had 43 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, two QB hurries, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Most recent ranking: Rowe was ranked 28th in our final Pac-10 top 30 list last year.

Making the case for Rowe: What is it with Oregon and undersized ends who opponents can't keep off their quarterback? First there was Nick Reed and now there's Rowe, who announced himself as a national figure when he tied a Rose Bowl record with three sacks. Rowe is quick and tenacious, which often causes problems for lumbering offensive tackles. He also has the speed to drop into coverage, though most would prefer to see him rushing off the edge. The goal this year is to become a more complete player. That means being more consistent in run support.

No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

Ranking the Pac-10's top 25: No. 14

June, 16, 2010
6/16/10
10:45
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-10's top 25 players continues.

No. 14. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC

2009 numbers: The 6-foot-1, 295-pound true junior ranked fifth on the Trojans -- and first among defensive linemen -- with 59 tackles, including nine for a loss. He also had 4.5 sacks, three QB hurries, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.

Most recent ranking: Casey wasn't ranked in our final Pac-10 top 30 list last year.

Making the case for Casey: Although this ranking of players isn't about NFL prospects, it's hard to ignore Casey's. He could be a first-round NFL draft pick next spring, and it's likely he'll advance from honorable mention All-Pac-10 in 2009 to the first team this fall. While new Trojans coach Lane Kiffin spent much of spring practices talking about what his team lacked, he lauded the D-line, and Casey is a leader there. Casey is quick and powerful and obviously opportunistic -- see his involvement in six fumbles. The next step is being consistently dominant, even vs. double-teams. If that happens, he'll follow Mike Patterson and Sedrick Ellis into All-America honors.

No. 15. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 16. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 17. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 18: Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
No. 19: Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 20. Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State
No. 21. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 22. Owen Marecic, LB/FB, Stanford
No. 23. Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC
No. 24: Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 25 Kai Forbath, K, UCLA

SPONSORED HEADLINES