Top 25 player countdown: No. 16

No. 16. Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC

2011 stats:He rushed for a school freshman record 1,253 yards and tied for the ACC lead with 14 total touchdowns. He led all ACC running backs with 13 rushing touchdowns. He was third on the team with 45 catches for 362 yards and a touchdown. He was No. 28 in the country with 96.4 rushing yards per game.

Previous ranking: No. 10

Making the case for Bernard: He didn’t drop in this ranking because he’s going to play worse; he dropped because there are going to be guys who play even better this year. Bernard will still be one of the top rushers in the country -- especially with such an outstanding offensive line blocking for him. Last year he became the first Tar Heel to run for more than 1,000 yards since 1997. He also has good hands and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He has good lateral quickness, and he will still get plenty of opportunities to display it in Larry Fedora’s spread offense.

  • No. 17 Dalton Freeman, C, Clemson

  • No. 18 Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

  • No. 19 Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State

  • No. 20Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest

  • No. 21Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech

  • No. 22Omoregie Uzzi, OG, Georgia Tech

  • No. 23 Bruce Taylor, LB, Virginia Tech

  • No. 24 Bud Noel, DB, Wake Forest

  • No. 25Nikita Whitlock, NG, Wake Forest