Preseason 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 22

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. 22 Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse

Twitter handle: @a15lemon

Making the case: Raise your hand if you know where Lemon ranked last year in the Big East in receptions per game. Hey, you out there, put your hand down! Lemon ranked No. 3 in the Big East with 5.7 receptions a game, just ahead of highly heralded receiver Stedman Bailey at West Virginia. Bailey had many more explosive plays and was better after the catch, but folks in the Big East should not snooze on Lemon, the most consistent receiver returning to the Big East.

Last season was a breakout year for Lemon, the best option for quarterback Ryan Nassib. Lemon finished fourth in the league with a school single-season record 68 catches for 834 yards. His 834 receiving yards marks the highest total for a junior in Syracuse history. The Big East took a major hit at this position in the offseason, with its three top players in Mohamed Sanu, Tavon Austin and Bailey all gone.

That leaves Lemon standing as the most productive player returning. Syracuse promises to do something a little different on offense this year and hopes for bigger plays out of its receivers. Lemon should form a nice duo with Marcus Sales, back after serving a one-year suspension. Given all these possibilities, and his outstanding production last year, watch for Lemon to have another great season.

The countdown

No. 23 Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers

No. 24 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn

No. 25 Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse