Top 25 player countdown: No. 5

No. 5. Jamoris Slaughter, S

2011 numbers: Slaughter was invited back for a fifth season following a 2011 campaign that saw him play in every game, recording 45 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.

Making the case for Slaughter: There may be no more versatile player on the Irish defense than Slaughter, who was valuable in nickel coverage last season when moving up to replace drop linebacker Prince Shembo and was even used some at cornerback in the spring, though that idea has been shelved for now. Slaughter has played in 36 games for the Irish over the past three seasons, and he will be the anchor of a secondary that has had to retool on the fly after injuries to Lo Wood and Austin Collinsworth.