We love rankings, mostly because you love rankings. So with that in mind, we begin today our ranking of the Top 25 non-AQ players of the 2010 season. The task is never easy -- taking into account five conferences plus Army and Navy to come up with a list. There is plenty of room for debate, so I encourage you to let me know who I left out and who I over-ranked or under-ranked.
So how did I come up with these rankings? I weighed several factors when I made this list. I looked at stats, yes, but I also looked at the importance of the player to their team. How did he impact the way his team performed? There are only three players on this list who were on losing teams, so that was a big factor. I also looked at conference, strength of schedule, postseason accolades and offensive systems. I went back and forth so many times, my original sheet looks like chicken scratch.
See, I debated with myself, and I encourage you to debate with me. So let us have a drumroll please as we start with No. 25.
Roosevelt Nix, DT, Kent State
Nix came into Kent State undersized for a defensive lineman at 5-foot-10, but there is no way to overstate the impact he had on the Golden Flashes. Nix was one of the best true freshmen in the entire country in 2010, winning MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. He led the MAC with 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss and ranked second in the conference with four forced fumbles. Those 10 sacks ranked No. 13 in the nation, and his tackles for loss tied for fifth in the nation. His presence helped Kent State lead the MAC in rush defense and rank No. 7 in the nation, allowing 97.2 yards per game. Given his rise, new coach Darrell Hazell knows he has at least one guaranteed returning starter going into 2011.