Notre Dame 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 18

Today's player is another multi-year starter who is expected to return for a fifth and final season.

No. 18: Chris Watt, LG

Making the case: A year after beating out Andrew Nuss for the starting left guard spot, Watt became an anchor on an offensive line that paved the way for seven different 200-yard rushing games, as he started all 13 games for the second straight season. The Irish surrendered just 28 sacks on the season and, after giving up seven over the first two games of the season, allowed just 11 over the final 11 games. The line was instrumental in bringing along new quarterback Everett Golson, as the two gradually got on the same page communication-wise, and it grew under new position coach Harry Hiestand. Watt was a big part of that, and his expected return in 2013 will give the Irish a very good left side up front, with Zack Martin back as well.

Preseason ranking: 18

The countdown

No. 19 George Atkinson III, RB

No. 20: Dan Fox, LB

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