Notre Dame 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 10

We move into the top 10 today, with another linebacker.

No. 10: Prince Shembo, LB

Making the case: Shembo started all 13 games for the Irish at the cat linebacker spot, accumulating 51 total tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss, the latter figure the second-best total on the team (Stephon Tuitt, 13). Shembo also finished second on the team in sacks with 7.5 (again, Tuitt led the unit with 12), and he added a pass break-up, a pass defended, a fumble recovery and a team-best 12 quarterback hurries. He proved to be a force on the edge as an extra pass-rusher, as evidenced by his three-sack performance of Chase Rettig in the Irish's 21-6 Nov. 10 win at Boston College, a contest that earned him national defensive performer of the week honors from the college football performance awards, along with FBS independent defensive player of the week recognition.

Preseason ranking: 16

The countdown

No. 11 Danny Spond, LB

No. 12 T.J. Jones, WR

No. 13 Everett Golson, QB

No. 14 Cierre Wood, RB

No. 15 Bennett Jackson, CB

No. 16 Tommy Rees, QB

No. 17 DaVaris Daniels, WR

No. 18 Chris Watt, LG

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