Notre Dame 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 7

Another fifth-year player makes his way into the top-10 of the countdown ...

No. 7: Braxston Cave, C

Making the case: From nearby Penn High, Cave was an anchor in the middle of Notre Dame's offensive line, helping to pave the way for a pair of 700-plus yard rushers while shoring up the communication line between the men up front and new quarterback Everett Golson. Following a foot injury that cut his 2011 campaign short, Cave rebounded and started all 13 games for the Irish, finishing his career with 35 starts in all. Another player to commit to the program following its atrocious 3-9 2007 season, Cave helped lead the Irish out of the depths of on-field mediocrity to the Discover BCS National Championship in a season that saw him finish as one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which is given to the nation's best center.

Preseason ranking: 9

The countdown

No. 8 Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE

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