Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 21

Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 continues.

Most of this looks back, but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2011 postseason Top 25 here.

No. 21 Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

2011 numbers: In three games Skov posted 19 tackles, 1.5 sacks and five tackles for a loss.

2011 postseason ranking: Unranked

Making the case for Skov: Had we seen a healthy Shayne Skov last year, we would have seen a guy with 100-plus tackles, 15-plus tackles for a loss, probably eight or nine sacks and a top-10 finish in the 2011 postseason Top 25. Then again, we wouldn't be seeing Skov this year because he'd be in an NFL camp right now. But that wasn't the case. A knee injury against Arizona in Week 3 kept him sidelined the rest of the year and now he's back to join a Stanford front seven that's among the best in the conference -- maybe the country. At question is if Skov is the same player. Head coach David Shaw said the rehab has gone well and Skov will be ready for action in fall camp -- though he's been suspended for the season opener against San Jose State for a DUI arrest back in February. Shaw noted that Skov doesn't have to prove that he can play the game of football. He needs to prove, through fall camp and beyond, that his surgically-repaired knee can handle the wear and tear it's going to take being a middle linebacker. If it does, expect Skov to be much higher on the postseason rankings because he's one of the top middle linebackers in the country.

No. 22: Curtis McNeal, RB, USC

No. 23: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

No. 24: Isi Sofele, RB, California

No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State