Pac-12 top 25 for 2011: No. 18

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

You can see the final post-2010 top 25 here. It doesn't, however, include players from Colorado or Utah.

18. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington

2010 numbers: Kearse ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with 1,005 receiving yards on 63 catches. His 12 touchdown receptions tied for first in the conference and his 16 yards per catch ranked second.

2010 ranking: 23rd

Making the case for Kearse: A 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior, Kearse has earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors the past two seasons. He didn't get off to a great start in 2010, most notably dropping three passes in a loss to Arizona State. But, as we observed in the blurb that ranked him 23rd at the end of last season, he handled that rotten performance with class off the field and mental toughness when he got back on it. A week after that poor performance against the Sun Devils, he caught nine passes for 146 yards and four touchdowns in a double-overtime win over Oregon State, including touchdown receptions in both overtime periods. In the Apple Cup, which the Huskies needed to win to earn bowl eligibility, he caught six passes for 178 yards with two touchdowns. Washington would not have earned its first bowl berth since 2002 without him.

He presently ranks sixth in career receptions (133), fourth in career receiving yards (2,172) and second in career receiving touchdowns (22) on the Huskies all-time list. If there is one thing left for him to do -- which will greatly improve his NFL prospects -- it's prove he can handle physical, man-to-man press coverage. In two games against a physical Nebraska secondary, he caught just three passes for 55 yards, though one was a 45-yard touchdown. The Huskies face the Cornhuskers again -- this time in Lincoln -- on Sept. 17, a game that Kearse has probably circled in red on his calendar.

19. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford

20. Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State

21. Robert Woods, WR, USC

22. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

23. David Paulson, TE, Oregon

24. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

25. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State