Notre Dame 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 20

Our series continues with a multi-year starter from the nation's No. 2 scoring defense.

No. 20: Dan Fox, LB

Making the case: Fox played in all 13 games and started nine, notching 63 total tackles, the fourth-most on the team. He added two tackles for loss, a sack, two pass breakups, two passes defended and two quarterback hurries. Fox had been touted as the player who improved the most from 2010 to 2011, when he supplanted Carlo Calabrese as a starter at the WILL linebacker spot, and he continued his rise during his fourth year with the Irish. Both he and Calabrese have fifth-year options and are expected to return, giving Notre Dame some veteran players in the middle of a defense looking to continue the momentum from a historic 2012 campaign.

Preseason ranking: 24

The countdown

No. 21 Matthias Farley, S

No. 22 KeiVarae Russell, CB

No. 23 Robby Toma, WR

No. 24 Kyle Brindza, K

No. 25 Chris Brown, WR