Pac-12 tandems: Clutch defines Ed Reynolds, Jordan Richards

This is the final post in a series looking at the best position tandems in the Pac-12, taking into account both college production and pro potential. Today it is the best pair of defensive backs in the Pac-12.

The best: Stanford

The duo: Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards

The reasoning: He didn't get the attention afforded to the likes of UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, but no player in the Pac-12 displayed a flair for the dramatic in 2012 like Stanford safety Ed Reynolds.

Reynolds intercepted a pass to snuff out a potential game-winning drive against San Jose State. Reynolds intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown against Washington State, a score that ended up being the margin of victory for the Cardinal. Reynolds intercepted a pass and returned it 80 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown run on the very next play in the Pac-12 championship game against UCLA, turning a potential 21-7 Bruins lead into a tied game.

Not only was Reynolds a ballhawk with six picks -- tied for the conference lead -- he was able to deliver game-changing plays at the most critical moments. That left Richards as the forgotten man in the Stanford secondary, despite totaling three interceptions and a team-high 12 pass breakups.

The mission statement for Richards and Reynolds is clear: capitalize on the pressure the Stanford front seven creates and clean up any mistakes when that aggression backfires. They don't get to attack the line of scrimmage and pile up tackles for loss. It isn't fancy or flashy, but Reynolds and Richards do the job and do it well.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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