Our countdown of the Pac-12’s Top 25 players from the 2013 season continues.
You can review our 2013 preseason Top 25 here.
No. 18: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
2013 numbers: Skov recorded 109 tackles -- 7.8 per game -- this season, with 13 coming for a loss. He also had 5.5 sacks, 10 QB hurries, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Preseason ranking: No. 16
Making the case for Skov: Skov was the highly productive and fiery emotional leader of the Pac-12's best defense. A four-year starter, he earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors and was a second-team FWAA and Sports Illustrated All-American and was a third-team All-American for the AP, CBS Sports and Athlon Sports. His value, however, was about more than what he did on the field. It was clear that he was the most vocal of Stanford's senior leaders. His pregame speeches were widely celebrated by his teammates. It's become a cliché to call a player the "heart and soul" of his team, but that is an appropriate term for Skov. He was a big reason, perhaps the biggest reason, why the Cardinal defense led the Pac-12 in scoring (19.0 ppg) and rushing defense (89.4), numbers that ranked 10th and third in the nation. Skov is a physical and instinctive player who figures to have a long career at the next level.