The Big East's best: No. 14

Time to move on in our preseason countdown of the top 25 players in the Big East. As a reminder, we are projecting the best 25 players this coming season based on past performance, the way they impact their teams, and with input from other coaches and players around the league. Freshmen, transfers and other newcomers are not included in the list.

No. 14 Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville

Smith was a revelation last season as a redshirt freshman, earning Big East Rookie of the Year honors and making the all-conference second team. Smith finished as the team leader in tackles with 88, and also had six tackles for loss and a sack. What really impressed was his ability to tackle. He is as sure-handed as it gets for a player in the defensive backfield.

Louisville no doubt will be relying more on him this season with some of the inexperience at the cornerback position, where nobody has stepped up just yet to take one of the starting roles. As Smith becomes bigger and even more experienced, he should no doubt be one of the best defensive backs in the conference.

The countdown:

No. 25 Dave Teggart, PK, UConn

No. 24 B.J. Daniels, QB, USF

No. 23 Tino Sunseri, QB, Pitt

No. 22 Victor Anderson, RB, Louisville

No. 21 Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati

No. 20 Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

No. 19 Jarred Holley, S, Pitt

No. 18 Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

No. 17 Julian Miller, DE, West Virginia

No. 16. D.J. Woods, WR, Cincinnati

No. 15 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn