Notre Dame 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 8

Our first captain ...

No. 8: Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE

Making the case: Lewis-Moore committed to Notre Dame following its historically bad 3-9 2007 campaign. He redshirt his first year before starting the next three, his fourth season getting cut short because of a knee injury. When he returned the following spring, he had lost his job to a freshman, Aaron Lynch, a position he re-gained after Lynch transferred to South Florida. Lewis-Moore simply kept his head down and went to work, quieting all who were upset about Lynch's departure and emerging as a key leader in the locker room and on the field. He was named one of two defensive captains, and he went out on the field and had his most productive season yet, notching 40 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two pass breakups, two passes defended, nine quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He seemed on track to become a mid-round draft pick in April before going down in the Discover BCS National Championship with an ACL tear, but he has overcome similar obstacles before and will look to make an impression for NFL scouts once he is recovered.

Preseason ranking: 11

The countdown

No. 9 Zeke Motta, S

No. 10 Prince Shembo, LB

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