Non-AQ Top 25 Players: No. 23

Temple Owls defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson Rob Christy/US Presswire

Our rankings of the Top 25 non-AQ players have begun, and now we are ready for No. 23. I have to say it was much harder deciding on my final five than it was ranking the Top 5 because there are so many good players I had to leave off the list. I switched at least 10 other players in and out of the bottom five before finally deciding on this group.

This player was a late addition, but I felt he deserved a spot because he had a terrific season.

No. 23 Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

It is always rare to find a defensive lineman with the right combination of size, speed and strength. That is exactly what Wilkerson has, and why he has been so invaluable to the Owls defense the last few seasons. Wilkerson followed up his stellar 2009 season with another excellent campaign, ranking third on the team with 70 tackles, while also leading the team with 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. At 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, Wilkerson had the size to clog the middle, but also the quickness to come off blocks and harass the quarterback. It’s no wonder why he is projected to be a late first-round pick after he left school with one year of eligibility remaining.

No. 24 Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky

No. 25 Roosevelt Nix, DT, Kent State