Preseason 2012 top 25 countdown: No. 13

Time to move on in our preseason countdown of the top 25 players in the Big East.

If you need a quick refresher, I am projecting the best of the best in the league for this upcoming season, and I am including freshmen and transfers as well.

No. 13 DeDe Lattimore, LB, USF

Twitter handle: @dlattimore

Making the case: Lattimore came on strong for the Bulls last season, particularly in the second half of the year. He ended up finishing tied for No. 6 in the Big East with 94 total tackles (along with teammate Michael Lanaris). Lattimore also finished sixth in the Big East with seven sacks, tops among all his teammates. Now going into this year, he is playing under a new defensive coordinator in Chris Cosh.

The 4-3 scheme remains the same. But Cosh relies on his linebackers to make more plays in his defensive set. Basically, his linebackers are going to be asked to play the run like a defensive lineman and the pass like a safety. Kansas State had excellent play out of its linebackers last season, and I think Lattimore stands to gain from having Cosh in charge this year. He made it on one preseason watch list for the Lombardi Award. I think he is an unheralded player with a chance to make a big impact.

The countdown

No. 14 Sio Moore, LB, UConn

No. 15 Walter Stewart, DE, Cincinnati

No. 16 Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers

No. 17 Mario Benavides, C, Louisville

No. 18 Jarred Holley, S, Pitt

No. 19 Scott Vallone, NT, Rutgers

No. 20 Ryan Griffin, TE, UConn

No. 21 Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville

No. 22 Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse

No. 23 Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers

No. 24 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn

No. 25 Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse