Preseason 2012 top 25 countdown: No. 16

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. 16 Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers

Twitter handle: @dharm32

Making the case: Harmon entered his first year as a starter last season, along with the majority of the Rutgers secondary. As one of three new starters in the defensive backfield, there were questions about how the group would play together. But almost immediately, he made his presence felt and emerged as one of the top safeties in the league. Harmon had two interceptions in the season opener -- including one he returned for a touchdown -- serving notice that he had arrived.

Harmon ended up second in the Big East with five interceptions, and earned All-Big East first team honors. His crucial interception of B.J. Daniels in overtime allowed Rutgers to complete its furious comeback victory. Going into his senior season, expectations are even higher for Harmon considering all he accomplished in his first year as a starter. Safety is a pretty deep group in the Big East this season. But any list of the top safeties in the league must include him.

The countdown

No. 17 Mario Benavides, C, Louisville

No. 18 Jarred Holley, S, Pitt

No. 19 Scott Vallone, NT, Rutgers

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