Stable Big Board heading into November
By Mel Kiper Jr.
Special to ESPN.com
With two months of the college football season behind us, my Top 25 Big Board is showing some consistency from week to week. While Florida State linebacker Buster Davis returns to the Big Board, there is one player making his debut in the Top 25, a teammate of Auburn running back Kenny Irons.
Ben Grubbs came to Auburn as a defensive tackle before shifting over to the offensive side of the ball to play tight end. As a freshman, he played in nine games and was used primarily as a blocker. As a sophomore he moved from tight end to guard and started all 13 games that season. Grubbs brings great natural athletic ability to the Tigers offensive line and has the ability to pull out and lead Irons as a downfield blocker.
1. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame (6-3Â½, 225) | previous: Same
Poised, smart and at his best in pressure situations. Quinn has 15 TD passes and only one interception in his last five games.
2. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin (6-6Â½, 313) | previous: Same
Huge, quick and athletic with a long wingspan.
3. Leon Hall, CB, Michigan (5-11, 193) | previous: 4
Tough customer who also shows very good anticipation and awareness in coverage. Hall leads the Wolverines with three interceptions.
4. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (6-4Â½, 260) | previous: 3
Flashes dominating ability with his athleticism and quickness. Adams leads the Tigers with 9Â½ sacks.
5. LaRon Landry, DB, LSU (6-1Â½, 205) | previous: 6
Four-year starter who has proven to be Mr. Reliable throughout his career. Landry leads LSU with 25 solo tackles.
6. Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame (6-4Â½, 215) | previous: 5
Super hands and concentration with outstanding speed-to-size ratio. He has five TD receptions in his last five games.
7. Quinn Pitcock, DT, Ohio St. (6-3, 297) | previous: Same
Run-stuffing dynamo who does a great job of clogging the interior. A concussion could sideline Pitcock for a second consecutive game.
8. Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn (5-10Â½, 199) | previous:9
Deceptively strong with great vision and balance. Irons has missed two games this season because of injuries.
9. Marcus Thomas, DT, Florida (6-2Â½, 288) | previous rank: 11
Thomas neutralizes the double team and plays with power. He anchors the best defensive line in college football.
10. Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan St. (6-3, 232) | previous: Same
Desire to win is unmatched and brings every intangible you want at the QB position. Stanton showed those intangibles in the Spartans' miraculous comeback at Northwestern.
11. Levi Brown, OT, Penn St. (6-4Â½, 325) | previous: 8
Steady and reliable at protecting the quarterback's blind side.
12. Ray McDonald, DE, Florida (6-2Â½, 279) | previous: 18
A versatile defensive lineman who is putting together an outstanding senior season for the Gators. McDonald is quick at the snap and plays through the whistle. He's stayed healthy this season after missing a significant amount of time in 2005 with a knee injury.
13. Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan (6-5Â½, 300) | previous: 22
He's a former tight end who has developed into a natural left tackle. Staley brings incredible footwork, athleticism and agility to the position.
14. Buster Davis, LB, Florida State (5-10, 242) | previous: Unranked
Rock-solid player who is a shorter version of Ray Lewis. Davis returns to the Big Board after a three-week absence.
15. Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno St. (6-0Â½, 200) | previous: 13
He has the size and speed (4.33 40-yard dash) with outstanding coverage technique.
16. Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia (6-4, 254) | previous: 12
Mature, hard working and explosive off the edge.
17. DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler, DT, NC State (6-2Â¼, 310) | previous: 15
Extremely quick and very powerful. A player on the rise, Taylor has been a one-man wrecking crew on the defensive line for the Wolfpack.
18. Daymeion Hughes, CB, California (6-0, 187) | previous: 17
Big-play cornerback for the Golden Bears. Finished strong in 2005 and it has carried over to this season. Hughes has seven interceptions in eight games, which is tied for second in Division I-A.
19. Aundrae Allison, WR, East Carolina (6-0, 190) | previous: 20
He's a difference-maker when he's at full strength. Allison returned from an ankle injury two weeks ago and had 13 receptions against SMU.
20. Victor Abiamiri, DE, Notre Dame (6-4, 270) | previous rank: 14
He has really stepped up as a big-time pass rusher this season. Abiamiri also is one of the more durable and battle-tested ends in the country.
21. Ben Grubbs, OG, Auburn (6-3, 300) | previous rank: Unranked
A versatile athlete who started his career at defensive tackle then shifted to tight end. Grubbs brings a great deal of athletic ability to the interior of the offensive line.
22. Tom Zbikowski, S, Notre Dame (5-11Â½, 212) | previous: 16
An aggressive ball hawk who brings a swagger to the Irish's defense. A true play-maker who also excels as a punt returner.
23. Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi (6-2, 235) | previous: 19
Tackling machine with great football sense and diagnostic ability. Leads the Rebels with 101 tackles (67 solo).
24. John Wendling, S, Wyoming (6-1, 220) | previous: 25
He's a key performer on the Cowboys defense that ranks, statistically, as one of the best in the nation. Wendling can run under 4.40 in the 40-yard dash and has a 41-inch vertical leap. He's also one of the most intelligent players in all of college football.
25. David Harris, LB, Michigan (6-2, 240) | previous: 23
Fast, strong and very productive, Harris has been one of the elite defensive players in the Big Ten this season.
Ryan Harris, OT, Notre Dame (6-4Â½, 297) | previous: 21
Light on his feet with a defensive mentality. Harris neutralizes quick outside pass rushers.
Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn St. (6-1Â½, 235) | previous: 24
A productive and consistent player who studies and prepares as thoroughly as anybody.
Click here to send a question to Mel Kiper for possible use on ESPNEWS.