Preseason 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 24

Time to move on in our preseason countdown of the top 25 players in the Big East.

If you need a quick refresher, I am projecting the best of the best in the league for this upcoming season, and I am including freshmen and transfers as well.

No. 24 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn

Twitter handle: @BlidiWrehWil5on

Making the case: It is easy to quantify how valuable Wreh-Wilson is to the UConn defense. Going into last season, he was widely regarded as one of the top shutdown cornerbacks in the Big East. But he hurt his knee in Week 4 and was out the next five weeks. The UConn secondary took a tumble with Wreh-Wilson on the sideline. In the five games without him, the Huskies gave up an average of 364 yards through the air. In the seven games with him, that number drops to an average of 222 yards. Of the four times UConn gave up more than 400 yards passing last year, three of them came with Wreh-Wilson on the sideline.

To be fair, there was major youth at safety as well, and that contributed to the woes. But I bet there are those UConn fans who believe the Huskies would have at least beaten Western Michigan if Wreh-Wilson had been able to play, given the way the Broncos passed at will in the fourth quarter in the see-saw game. There are probably others who cringe that they lost to Pitt after Ray Graham got hurt, allowing Tino Sunseri to throw for more than 400 yards.

Going into this year, Wreh-Wilson is completely healthy, and the UConn secondary should be much improved with him back to start the season. I think he goes into the year as one of the top cornerbacks at a very deep position across the league.

The countdown

No. 25 Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse