Our countdown of the Pac-12's top-25 players continues.
No. 14: David DeCastro, OL, Stanford
2011 numbers: Tough to quantify an offensive lineman's success. You have to look at the success of the running backs (Stanford's were very good) and the amount of sacks yielded (also very good) as measuring sticks. I don't think Stanford keeps track of pancake blocks, but DeCastro could probably open an IHOP.
Preseason ranking: No. 24.
Making the case for DeCastro: The word dominant comes to mind. DeCastro plays the game with a punch-you-in-the-mouth mentality that made him a First-Team All-American (Walter Camp, AFCA, FWAA, AP, Sporting News) and an Outland Trophy finalist. The two-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer is widely regarded as the best run-blocking lineman in the country, and the rare guard that will likely be drafted in the first round. Looking at raw numbers, Stanford rushed for 210.6 yards per game -- a lot of them behind DeCastro -- and it gave up just 11 sacks. What gets lost in the mix is that Stanford had three new starters on the offensive line this season. DeCastro challenged all three to elevate their games, and by the third week, they were a cohesive unit. Don't be surprised to see him starting immediately in the NFL next season.