Top 25 player countdown: No. 7

No. 7. Zack Martin, LT

2011 numbers: The 6-foot-4, 304-pound Martin started all 13 games last season for a unit that allowed just 17 sacks. He was named the team's best offensive lineman for the second straight season.

Making the case for Martin: When Brian Kelly is asked what he knows about his team going into this season, he says he knows his team will win the battle in the trenches, and that's a good feeling. His left tackle is a big reason for that, as Martin returns after 26 straight starts on the line. The redshirt junior will anchor a unit that brings back three starters from the same position as last season, four in all, and is under a new coach in the well-traveled Harry Hiestand. Like center Braxston Cave, Martin is also on the watch list for the Outland Trophy.