Top 25 player countdown: No. 24

No. 24. Dan Fox, ILB

2011 numbers: Fox started all 13 games for Notre Dame and split time with Carlo Calabrese inside. Fox finished sixth on the team in tackles, with 48, a number that trails only fellow inside linebacker Manti Te'o (128) among returners. Fox had 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.

Making the case for Fox: Fox showed one of the better year-to-year leaps on the team last season, as the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder surprised many by beating out incumbent starter Calabrese. Believed to be a safety upon his arrival to Notre Dame in 2009, Fox was voted by his teammates as the defensive newcomer of the year at last season's awards banquet. The continued improvement throughout Fox's career suggests more big things this fall, his redshirt junior season.

No. 25 Gunner Kiel, QB