Trevardo Williams No. 6 in ESPN Big East Rankings

The Huskies may have only won five games last season but if we put any stock in preseason rankings this team certainly has the pieces in place to be much better in 2012. Obviously, we're not talking about overall Big East rankings -- UConn typically comes in near the bottom of the conference -- but if we take the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts-approach there's plenty of reason for optimism.

We mentioned last week that running back Lyle McCombs, who earned freshman All-American honors last season, was ranked as the conference's 10th-best player according to's Big East blog. As the countdown to No. 1 continues, another Husky has made the list: No. 6 defensive end Trevardo Williams.

In July, days before training camp, Williams said he's looking to improve on his 12.5 sacks from a year ago -- by 3.5 sacks. But even if he doesn't reach 16, he can still be a disruptive force in the offensive backfield. More from's Andrea Adelson:

He has 19 career sacks. If he has another season like he had in 2011, he will close in on the school sack record of 27, set by Mark Michaels from 1982-85.

Folks will definitely be watching. Williams has already made three preseason watch lists -- Bednarik Award (best defensive player), Lombardi Award (best lineman) and the Nagurski Award (best defensive player). Here is an assessment from teammate Sio Moore: "His burst and explosion is great. Some people think he gets to the quarterback just because he's fast, but he sets himself apart with his great technique."

To recap: the other UConn players include cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson at No. 24, tight end Ryan Griffin at No. 20 and linebacker Sio Moore at No. 14. Now all the Huskies have to do is go out and win some football games.

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