Preseason 2012 top 25 countdown: No. 19

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. 19 Scott Vallone, NT, Rutgers

Twitter handle: @SVallone94

Making the case: There is somebody on the Rutgers defense who no fan should take for granted. And that is tackle Scott Vallone, who has started every game of his career -- 38 to lead all returning players in the Big East. He may not get the headlines, but Vallone does a lot of the dirty work in the trenches, all while playing at a slightly undersized 275 pounds.

Last year was his best yet, as he made a career-high 58 tackles -- including six for a loss. His ability to help push the pocket really helped the Rutgers defensive line make major improvements last year. Was the group shaky against the run? Yes. But this unit also put relenting pressure on the quarterback and helped force a large number of turnovers. This year, Vallone is expected to be used in a more versatile way up front as the most experienced player coming back.

Anybody who has watched Vallone play knows he can handle whatever the coaches ask.

The countdown

No. 20 Ryan Griffin, TE, UConn

No. 21 Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville

No. 22 Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse

No. 23 Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers

No. 24 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn

No. 25 Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse