Our first lineman makes his way onto our top 25 countdown:
No. 20: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU, RSo.
Preseason rank: Not ranked in the preseason top 25 countdown.
2011 numbers: He started all 14 games for the Tigers in 2011 and was seventh on the team in tackles, with 54, and was third with 10 tackles for loss. He recorded two sacks and an interception and was credited with four quarterback hurries. He also defended three passes and blocked a kick in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game. He set a career high with six total tackles, all solo, in the SEC championship game and added two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. He was named a second-team All-SEC member as well.
Why he's here: Brockers became a force in the middle of LSU's defensive line in 2011. At 6-foot-6 and 306 pounds, Brockers required double-teams in order to keep him under control up front. Brockers got better as the season went on. In road games, Brockers averaged 4.1 tackles per contest and averaged five tackles a game against ranked opponents. As the competition got better, Brockers seemed to improve as well, including the national title game, in which he was matched up with the league's top center in Alabama's William Vlachos, he recorded seven tackles and blocked a field goal. Brockers, who was a third-year sophomore last year, decided to forgo his junior season and declared for April's NFL draft. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper projects him to be a first-round draft pick.