2013 Top 25 Player Countdown: No. 18

No pressure here ...

No. 18: Jarrett Grace, LB

Previous ranking: Not ranked

Making the case: Grace was the talk of the spring before he ever really took the practice field. Such is life as the guy replacing Manti Te'o. But Grace appeared to make the most of the opportunity, earning rave reviews from the staff and teammates as he worked alongside a unit that returns all of its other starters and key playmakers from last season. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Grace notched 12 total tackles last season, 10 coming on special teams, and will look to make more big plays on a defense that returns eight starters from last season, when it finished second nationally in scoring defense. Expecting him to match the production of the Heisman Trophy runner-up is unreasonable, as even defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has said that no one will replace Te'o. But Grace is in position to have a strong season with the spotlight finally on him.

The countdown

No. 19 Amir Carlisle

No. 20 Troy Niklas

No. 21 Elijah Shumate

No. 22 C.J. Prosise

No. 23 Ishaq Williams

No. 24 Kyle Brindza

No. 25 Greg Bryant