It's time to count down the top 25 players in the Pac-12 heading into the 2011 season.
Of course, this is an exercise in subjectivity. It's not just ranking players that's a challenge; it's ranking players at different positions. Not easy to do. Our evaluation is mostly about feel. It's not a ranking of NFL prospects, though that is obviously in our heads. Past performance was the top measure, but projecting forward also is part of the process.
It was tough to leave out some very good players. You might recall there was a significant degree of post-list regret after I opted to leave off Stanford FB-LB Owen Marecic last year, which was a mistake. Sure there will be some of that this go-around.
You can see the final post-2010 top 25 here. It doesn't, however, include players from Colorado or Utah.
Without further hand-wringing, let's begin.
25. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
2010 numbers: As a true freshman, Wilson caught 55 passes for 1,006 yards with six touchdowns in 2010. He averaged 18.3 yards per reception, which ranked first in the Pac-10.
2010 ranking: Unranked
Making the case for Wilson: So what's next for the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Wilson after an impressive debut? Taking over games and catching passes that win games. Wilson, who has been named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, led all freshmen nationally in receiving yards and was second among freshmen nationally in receptions per game in 2010. He ranked 22nd among all FBS receivers in receiving yards per game (83.8 ypg). He owns the school freshman record for receptions and became just the ninth Cougar -- and first freshman -- to record a season with 1,000 receiving yards. He ranked second in the Pac-10 in receiving yards per game. In his first college game at Oklahoma State, he caught four passes for 108 yards, one of five 100-plus yard receiving games, a school freshman record. His six TD receptions came in six different games. With a talented veteran quarterback in Jeff Tuel, and a good supporting cast of receivers, Wilson could put up big numbers this fall, which means he could move up in our postseason top 25 list, particularly if the Cougars move up in the Pac-12 standings.