There are always tough decisions to be made when compiling a Top 25 list. I went around and around before settling on my final rankings, which wrapped up today.
So who just missed the cut? These are the five players I would have spotlighted from 25-30.
Brandon Lindsey, DL/LB, Pitt: As I said in an earlier entry, Lindsey did have a good season. I just did not think it was memorable enough to make the Top 25, in part because it seemed as if the defensive coaches for the Panthers did not know how to best utilize him. I thought Aaron Donald and Chas Alecxih were much more consistent. Donald made the Top 25 list; Alecxih is spotlighted here.
Chas Alecxih, DT, Pitt: Alecxih ranked No. 5 in the league in tackles for loss with 15.5, and had 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. He was a big force in the middle of the Panthers' defense.
Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville: Adding Bushell to the mix really helped a group that lacked in experience. The Cardinals were expected to have problems at cornerback, but Bushell held down the position well, and won first-team conference honors.
Sio Moore, LB, UConn: Moore had 86 tackles and 6.5 sacks on a defense that was strong against the run, but weak against the pass. Getting adjusted to a new coordinator led to some inconsistency.
DeDe Lattimore, LB, USF: Lattimore really put together a strong second half to the season, and finished with 94 tackles -- 13 for a loss and seven sacks. It was tough choosing between him and Ryne Giddins, who did make the Top 25.
And a few others I also considered:
Justin Francis, DT, Rutgers
Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse
John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati
Phillip Thomas, S, Syracuse
Max Gruder, LB, Pitt