ESPN's Pac-12 Blog and Kevin Gemmell have been going through and ranking the top 25 players of the Pac-12, based on their 2011 season, and the countdown hit 11 on Tuesday. Coming in at that spot is surprise star Keith Price, and Gemmell explains why:
2011 numbers: Let's start with the 33 passing touchdowns. That would be a UW single-season record. Then, there's the 3,063 passing yards -- second all time at Washington. The 66.9 completion percentage and 161.09 passing efficiency? Record and record.
Preseason ranking: Unranked.
Making the case for Price: How does an unranked player catapult to No. 11? You start by putting up numbers that get you in the conversation with Pac-12 quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. You shock the rest of the conference with efficiency and accuracy traditionally not seen from a sophomore, let alone a first-time starter. You make a fanbase forget about Jake what's-his-name -- that first-round draft pick you replaced. And you do it all on bad knees, bad ankles and with a bad shoulder. The full, healthy Price was finally unleashed in the Alamo Bowl and he rushed for his first three touchdowns of the year and threw for another four. He said he's dedicating himself this offseason to putting on more weight so he can stay healthy. If the poised pocket quarterback and the athletic runner can all come together for a full season next year, expect this dynamic football player to warrant some legitimate Heisman buzz.
There's really no arguing with the logic here - Price had a record breaking season for the Huskies and made it pretty easy to forget about recently-departed Jake Locker. Price has potential to thrust himself into the top-five discussion next year with another solid campaign.
Make sure to check out the rest of their rankings and see if any other Huskies made the list.
For more on the Huskies, head over to the UW Dawg Pound.