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. 5. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
2010 numbers: Foster ranked second in the nation and No. 1 in the Pac-10 with 12.54 tackles per game -- 163 total tackles. He also ranked sixth in the conference with 12.5 tackles for a loss, which included 6.5 sacks, which tied for seventh in the conference. Further, he recovered two fumbles, forced two fumbles and blocked a kick.
Preseason ranking: No. 11
Making the case for Foster: The 6-foot-2, 242-pound senior and team captain, who started 41 games for the Huskies, earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors after another extremely productive seasons. He also earned first-team All-American honors from scout.com and rivals.com and third-team All-American from the Associated Press and honorable mention from Sports Illustrated. His 163 tackles are most by a Pac-10 player since former Husky James Clifford had 168 in 1989. And don't write off the tackle numbers as being a product of a "system" or for Foster piling up assists: He also was the conference leader and ranked No. 2 nationally in solo tackles (8.08 per game). At the end of the season, he was playing as well as any linebacker in the nation. He capped the regular season with 14 tackles, including a sack and a half, in the Apple Cup win at Washington State. Then he was named the defensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl, finishing that upset victory over Nebraska with 12 tackles, including three tackles for loss and two sacks. He's expected to be picked in this spring's NFL draft in the third or fourth round.
No. 6. Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
No. 7. Chris Polk, RB, Washington
No. 8. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 9. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
No. 10. Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 11. Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State
No. 12. Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon
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