#CFBTop25: No. 20, Vita Vea, DT, Washington

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

A massive force as the anchor of the Huskies' line, Vita Vea returns as one of the most heralded defenders in college football.

At 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds (school measurements), Vea has the size and strength to dominate as a nose tackle, but it would be folly to assume he's just a big body who clogs up running lanes. Yes, Vea is more advanced as a run stuffer than pass rusher at this point in his career, but he has the athleticism and quickness to make plays in both facets of the game. It was a surprise when he elected to return for another season at Washington instead of entering the 2017 NFL Draft given that scouts hold him in such high regard.

If he takes another step in his development in 2017, he could have NFL evaluators salivating over his potential.

CFB 24/7 is marking the days to the start of the 2017 season by counting down the top 25 players in college football.

Pulling back the curtain on the vote

Vea received votes from four of seven CFB 24/7 experts, with a high of No. 7 in one analyst's rankings. In CFB 24/7's "17 for '17" series, Vea was rated No. 5 on the list of college football defenders most likely to become NFL stars.

What some of our analysts are saying about Vea

"I was shocked when Vea decided to return to Washington. He likely would've been a top-20 pick in the 2017 draft. He's a better version of Dontari Poe." -- Daniel Jeremiah

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"Vea has an NFL-caliber frame with the ability to own the grass beneath his feet in the running game. However, Vea's not just a space eater. He has the pursuit quickness to range down the line and make tackles outside the box." -- Lance Zierlein

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"Vea will make Washington's defense hard to run on through the A-gaps, but he's athletic enough to range well beyond that area." -- Chase Goodbread

Where do fans rank Vea?

We asked Twitter users who they considered the best player in college football. Vea didn't receive a vote. Players who do their work inside the trenches typically don't fare well in fan voting, so it's not surprising that Vea didn't receive any support. He's not be a household name for fans, but any scout assigned to the Pacific Northwest region should know him well.

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