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The Big East's best: No. 12, Robert Sands

A postseason ranking of the Big East's Top 30 players ...

No. 12

Sands

Sands

Robert Sands, S, West Virginia, Soph.

Preseason rank: NR

Why him here: This is awfully high for a guy who wasn't really on my radar for the Top 30 in the preseason. But Sands had a breakout campaign and was especially dominant down the stretch, such as in his 13-tackle performance against Florida State in the Gator Bowl or his terrific showing in the win over Pitt.

Sands finished the season with 65 tackles, 10 of them for loss and five interceptions, announcing himself as arguably the top returning safety in the Big East. Few can match his physical stature, as he's an unusually tall defensive back at 6-foot-5. Sands uses that frame to make plays on the ball others can't make, and he has become a sound tackler as well. Going forward, he should be one of the top playmakers on a veteran West Virginia defense, and a highly interesting NFL prospect.

Previous:

No. 13: B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida

No. 14: Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh

No. 15: Tim Brown, WR, Rutgers

No. 16: Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut

No. 17: Arthur Jones, DT, Syracuse

No. 18: Lawrence Wilson, LB, Connecticut

No. 19: Tom Savage, QB, Rutgers

No. 20: Andre Dixon, RB, Connecticut

No. 21: Bill Stull, QB, Pittsburgh

No. 22: Nate Allen, S, South Florida

No. 23: Marcus Easley, WR, Connecticut

No. 24: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

No. 25: Jarrett Brown, QB, West Virginia

No. 26: George Selvie, DE, South Florida

No. 27: Kion Wilson, LB, South Florida

No. 28: Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh

No. 29: Lindsey Witten, DE, Connecticut

No. 30: Jeff Linkenbach, OT, Cincinnati