Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 8

Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 continues.

Most of this looks back, but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2011 postseason top 25 here.

8. Keenan Allen, WR, California

2011 numbers: Caught 98 passes for 1,343 yards with six touchdowns. He averaged 13.7 yards per reception.

2011 postseason ranking: No. 15

Making the case for Allen: As Kevin noted, ranking the Pac-12's crew of receivers is difficult. Four are legitimate All-American candidates. Heck, you've seen all four already included on various preseason A-A teams. Allen, first-team All-Pac-12 in 2011, ranked 18th on Mel Kiper's first "Big Board." Wrote Kiper: "Strong hands, catches the ball with ease. Sets up defenders, sees the field well, settling in creases against zones. Not a total burner, but can sell short routes and break deep. Great run-after-catch skills." The junior, if he builds on his first two seasons, is a likely first-round NFL draft pick, should he opt to leave early. Now two nitpicks. 1. Allen only caught six touchdown passes in 2011 and he had just one touchdown in the final six games; 2. He eclipsed 100 yards receiving in five of the first six games last fall but didn't again over the final seven games. If Allen is going to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors -- nearly as big an honor this season at the position as All-American -- he's going to have to get into the endzone more and be consistent throughout the season. He also will be challenged by the Bears thinness and inexperience at the position. Last year, the capable Marvin Jones kept defenses honest. This year, he should expect secondaries to scheme him up with bracket coverages and various sorts of double-teams.

No. 9: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

No. 10: T.J. McDonald, S, USC

No. 11: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon

No. 12: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

No. 13: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

No. 13: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

No 14: Nickell Robey, CB, USC

No. 15: John White IV, RB, Utah

No. 16: John Boyett, S, Oregon

No. 17: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State

No. 18: Khaled Holmes, C, USC

No. 19: Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State

No. 20: Dion Bailey, LB, USC

No. 21: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

No. 22: Curtis McNeal, RB, USC

No. 23: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

No. 24: Isi Sofele, RB, California

No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State