We continue our countdown of the Pac-10's 25 best players from 2010.
Note: Because we are ranking players based on this past season, it's Pac-10, not Pac-12.
Here are the preseason rankings (click each name to read the blurb).
No. 7. Chris Polk, RB, Washington
2010 numbers: Polk ranked second in the Pac-10 with 1,415 yards rushing -- his 108.9 yards per game ranked 13th in the nation -- and he scored nine touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 180 yards.
Preseason ranking: Unranked.
Making the case for Polk: Polk ended up being the Huskies most important offensive player instead of quarterback Jake Locker. His 260 total carries ranked second in the Pac-10 and were third-most in school history. But what really elevated Polk on this list was his late-season surge that was perhaps the biggest reason the Huskies won three in a row and made their first bowl game since 2002.
He rushed for 138 yards against UCLA, 86 yards at California -- including the winning fourth-and-1 plunge on the game's final play -- and 284 yards at Washington State, the second-best rushing total in school history. Then, in the Holiday Bowl against a good Nebraska defense, he rushed for 177 yards on a career-high 34 carries and was named the offensive MVP. Moreover, many of those yard came after contact. Polk has the speed to break away, but he's also one of the more physical runners in the conference. And he's not a bad receiver, either. The rising junior's second-consecutive 1,000-yard season pushed him to No. 6 on the Huskies all-time rushing list with 2,561 yards. He likely will be the leader of the offense in 2011, so he figures to continue to climb that list. He could end up on some All-American lists.
No. 8. Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 9. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
No. 10. Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
No. 11. Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State
No. 12. Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon
No. 13 Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
No. 14. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 15. Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
No. 16. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
No. 17. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon
No. 18. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
No. 19. Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
No. 20. Talmadge Jackson, CB, Oregon
No. 21. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
No. 22. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
No. 23. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
No. 24. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
No. 25. Shane Vereen, RB, California