Big East 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 23

Moving on in our countdown of the Top 25 players in the Big East for the 2012 season:

No. 23 Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Making the case: I thought Pryor deserved to be on the Big East first team for his performance this season. The coaches disagreed with me, and put him on the second team. Either way, it is hard to ignore the type of impact Pryor had in the Louisville secondary this season -- one of the best groups in the Big East in 2012. He ended up finishing second on the team with 100 tackles -- ranking No. 7 in the entire league. He forced five fumbles, including one in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Florida. His total forced fumbles tied him for No. 3 in the nation.

And he had eight or more tackles in seven games this past season. That is called consistently reliable. And by the way, Pryor is only a sophomore, so there is an immense opportunity for even more growth this coming season. He and Hakeem Smith certainly form a great duo, and should be the best safety combination in the Big East in 2013.

Previous ranking: NR.

The countdown

No. 24 Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple

No. 25 Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt