We are counting down the top 25 players in the Big East, one player at a time.
Up today: Antwon Bailey, RB, Syracuse.
2011 stats: 240 carries, 1,051 yards, six touchdowns, first-team All- Big East selection; added 29 receptions for 200 yards and a touchdown.
Making the case: Bailey was tabbed to shoulder the rushing load this season with the departure of Delone Carter — and had a career year. He was one of just three running backs in the Big East to go over 1,000 yards -- nearly double his previous high of 554 yards -- and finished third in the league in rushing. He also hit a career high with six rushing touchdowns, and had six 100-yard games on the season -- tied for most in the Big East. His diminutive size (5-foot-7) made him sneaky at times, and allowed him to elude defenders. The Syracuse run game might not have been as consistent as it was in 2010, but it is hard to fault Bailey's effort. It says something that he earned a spot on the conference's first team -- considering those honors are voted on by the coaches.
Preseason ranking: NR.
No. 25 Ryne Giddins, DE, USF
No. 24 Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia
No. 23 Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers