Top 25 player countdown: No. 15

No. 15. Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

2011 stats: Vernon caught 70 passes for 956 yards and six touchdowns. He ranked fourth in the ACC in receiving yards per game (79.7), and fifth in receptions per game (5.83).

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Vernon: Vernon’s accolades take up more than an entire page of Duke’s media guide, as he is one of the ACC’s most accomplished players, and he’s not done yet. Vernon needs just 35 more catches and 843 yards to become the ACC’s all-time leader in both categories. Last year, Vernon became the first player in ACC history to have multiple seasons with over 70 catches. Coach David Cutcliffe has repeatedly called Vernon “the most fearless wide receiver” he has ever coached. Vernon has ranked among the ACC’s top five in receptions per game in each of the past three years, and he enters 2012 with the longest active streak in the nation for consecutive games with at least one reception (35), and he is just two games short of the school record.