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The Big East's best: No. 13

The countdown of the Big East's top players from 2010, based on performance and impact last season, continues now with lucky No. 13 ...

No. 13

Brandon Lindsey, DE, Pittsburgh, Jr.

Preseason rank: Not ranked

2010 numbers: Led the Big East with 18 tackles for loss and finished second in sacks with 10. Finished with 51 tackles overall and three forced fumbles.

Making the case for Lindsey: When Greg Romeus went out with back surgery early in the year, and then tore his knee up after a short-lived comeback attempt, Pittsburgh could have been in trouble. After all, Romeus was the Big East's co-defensive player of the year in 2009 and the most feared pass rusher in the league. How could the Panthers replace that?

It turns out that they did just fine, thanks to Lindsey. In fact, Lindsey registered two more sacks and 6.5 more TFLs than Romeus did in 2009. He didn't have nearly the height or bulk that Romeus possessed, but Lindsey made up for it with an impressive burst that helped him fly to the quarterback.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder's only drawback was that he could get exploited against bigger offensive tackles and power run teams, which is what happened in the loss to Connecticut. But given his production -- and especially how valuable it was in Romeus' absence -- Lindsey has to be considered one of the top performers of the 2010 Big East season.

Previously

No. 25: Zach Hurd, OG, Connecticut

No. 24: Dave Teggart, K, Connecticut

No. 23: Derrell Smith, LB, Syracuse

No. 22: J.T. Thomas, LB, West Virginia

No. 21: Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville

No. 20: Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh

No. 19: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

No. 18: Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati

No. 17: Kendall Reyes, DL, Connecticut

No. 16: Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh

No. 15: Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

No. 14: Robert Sands, S, West Virginia