Counting down the ACC's Top 25 players

We will start our countdown today of the ACC’s 25 best players entering the 2010 season.

Don't confuse this for the top 25 NFL prospects, because it's not. Rather, it's based on what the players have done in college football to this point, their potential for the 2010 season and the impact they have on their teams. Our first player is a special case, but one who meets all of the aforementioned criteria:

No. 25. Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College

2008 numbers: He tied for the national lead in interceptions by a linebacker with six and returned them a total of 121 yards, including two for touchdowns. He led the Eagles with an average of 8.1 tackles and had 11 tackles for loss. He had three sacks, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked because of his cancer diagnosis.

Making the case for Herzlich: It’s impossible to predict what kind of an on-field impact Herzlich will have after recovering from Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer, but it’s also impossible to ignore his past success, future potential, and the impact he has had on his team regardless of whether or not he’s playing. Despite sitting out last year, Herzlich enters 2010 as the ACC’s returning career leader in tackles for loss with 29. He’s also tied for fourth in active career interceptions with eight. As the ACC’s 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, Herzlich has nothing to prove. He can obviously move up this ranking, but consider this an optimistic start to what many hope could be a fairy tale ending.