We continue our countdown of the Pac-10's 25 best players from 2010.
Note: Because we are ranking players based on this past season, it's Pac-10, not Pac-12.
Here are the preseason rankings (click each name to read the blurb).
No. 16. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
2010 numbers: Smith was a two-year starter and made first-team All-Pac-10 as a true junior.
Preseason ranking: Unranked.
Making the case for Smith: Know who Smith is? He's the 6-foot-5 guy who didn't waste his time dreaming about basketball. Instead of becoming a mediocre college basketball player -- a physical scrapper who averaged 12 points and nine rebounds per game -- he became an offensive tackle. And because he did, he may end up being the first one taking this spring in the NFL draft. (By the way, we have no idea if Smith ever had hoops dreams, but the point is how many times do you go to high school basketball games and see 6-5 guys with big frames who don't play football and think: NFL tight end or offensive tackle). Smith has excellent technique and probably was the most athletic offensive lineman in the Pac-10 -- and maybe in the country. His upside is tremendous, and he played pretty darn well in 2010.
No. 17. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 19. Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 20. Talmadge Jackson, CB, Oregon
No. 21. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 22. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
No. 23. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
No. 24. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 25. Shane Vereen, RB, California