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. 12. Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon
2010 numbers: Maehl ranked second in the Pac-10 in receptions (77), third in yards receiving per game (82.8) and tied for first in touchdowns (12). His 1,076 receiving yards ranked second in the conference.
Preseason ranking: Unranked
Making the case for Maehl: Maehl doesn't look the part. At a media function before the BCS national championship game, one well-known sportswriter compared him to Jeff Spicoli. But the first-team All-Pac-10 receiver was simply one of the best players at his position in the nation. Maehl tied Samie Parker’s (2000-03) school records for receptions in a season (77) and a career (178). His 12 TD receptions -- 10 of which came in conference games -- ranked 11th nationally and tied the school record. His 24 career TD catches also matched the Oregon career mark. And many of his receptions were spectacular, see his diving grab against USC and his catch for the tying 2-point conversion against Auburn. It took a while for the Pac-12 blog to come around on Maehl. He seemed a bit like a "possession receiver." Not so. And, by the way, a curious thing happened at the NFL combine. Maehl turned in the best numbers among receivers in the three-cone drill -- in fact, his 6.42 time was a combine record -- and ranked second in the short shuttle run. Maehl doesn't have blazing speed, but that doesn't mean he's not an elite athlete who will play on Sundays.
No. 13 Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 14. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 15. Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
No. 16. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
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