Pac-10 top 25 from 2010: No. 25

We begin our countdown of the Pac-10's -- this is looking back, so it's not yet Pac-12 -- 25 best players from 2010.

Here are the preseason rankings (click each name to read his blurb).

This was a challenging list to make. Many good players were left off. In fact, our No. 25 player will show you just how good this list is.

No. 25 California RB Shane Vereen

2010 numbers: Vereen rushed for 1,167 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and his 97.2 yards rushing per game ranked fourth in the Pac-10 and 23rd in the nation. He also caught 22 passes for 209 yards with three touchdowns.

Preseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Vereen: Vereen, whose 35 career TDs ranks tied for fourth on the Bears' all-time list, is a multipurpose threat whose numbers probably weren't as good as they would have been had quarterback Kevin Riley stayed healthy. When Riley went down in Game 8, Cal's passing game disappeared and defenses ganged up on Vereen. Nonetheless, he still went over 100 yards rushing in three of the final four games. Vereen has good speed -- he posted long runs of 59 yards (2010), 61 (2009) and 81 (2008) over the past three seasons -- but also can run physically between the tackles. He opted to enter the NFL draft after his junior season, and most projections rate him a third- or fourth-round pick.