Ranking the top 100 Big Ten players
Written by Matt Pargoff   

Taking a wide scale look at the talent within the Big Ten for this fall, we break down the top 100 players in the conference. While slanted slightly to the defensive side, the offense is also well represented. See which players stack up for each school.

100. CB Travis Howard, Sr. – Ohio State: Started 11 games last season, making two interceptions and forcing two fumbles.
99. OL Brandon Vitabile, So. – Northwestern: Started at center as just a redshirt freshman last season. Named to the Rimington Award Watch List for this fall.
98. TE Ted Bolser, Jr. – Indiana: Had an excellent redshirt freshman campaign in 2010, catching 27 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns. His production dropped to 14 catches for 165 yards and one score last fall.
97. DE Ryan Russell, So. – Purdue: Made 33 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss, forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles as a redshirt freshman last season.
96. OL Patrick Ward, Sr. – Northwestern: Has started 26 consecutive games at right tackle for the Wildcats.
95. TE Jon Davis, So. – Illinois: Pulled in 22 receptions for 187 yards and one touchdown in an H-back role as a true freshman.
94. LB Keanon Cooper, Sr. – Minnesota: Undersized but productive linebacker, has made 188 total tackles over the last three seasons.
93. S Supo Sanni, Sr. – Illinois: The big athletic safety had a strong return from an Achilles injury last fall making 49 tackles and breaking up five passes.
92. RB Donvonn Young, So. – Illinois: Playing in a backup role last season, rushed for 451 yards, six touchdowns and a strong 5.2 yards per carry. Will start this fall.
91. QB MarQueis Gray, Sr. – Minnesota: Highly suspect as a passer, throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns, but an exceptional athlete that rushed for 966 yards and six scores last fall.
90. CB J.T. Floyd, Sr. – Michigan: Led the Wolverines with eight passes broken up and made a key interception to secure victory over Illinois.
89. OL Andrew Norwell, Jr., Ohio State: Started five games at left tackle before moving inside to start the final eight games at left guard.
88. LB David Nwabuisi, Sr. – Northwestern: Made 84 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss and two forced fumbles last season.
87. K Drew Basil, Jr. – Ohio State: Made 16 of 19 field goal attempts, and was perfect under 40 yards. Led Ohio State in scoring last season with twice as many points as any other player.
86. LB Michael Mauti, Sr. – Penn State: Made 67 tackles in 2010. After a strong start last season, with 21 tackles in less than four games, he tore his ACL for the second time in his career.
85. TE Kyler Reed, Sr. – Nebraska: Pulled in 15 receptions for 257 yards and one touchdown last season.
84. QB Caleb TerBush, Sr. – Purdue: Sat out the 2010 season for academic reasons, but seized the starting job last fall. Completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,905 yards and 13 touchdowns.
83. S Christian Bryant, Jr. – Ohio State: Very physical, but somewhat inconsistent, he had a good solid sophomore campaign with 69 total tackles.
82. TE Ben Cotton, Sr. – Nebraska: Started 11 games and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition, making 14 receptions for 189 yards.
81. OL Graham Pocic, Sr. – Illinois: Has started 26 games at center and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition as a sophomore in 2010.
80. TE Dion Sims, Jr. – Michigan State: Only pulled in 12 catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns last year, but has the potential to excel in a starting role this fall.
79. LB Will Lucas, Jr. – Purdue: Made 84 tackles, including 10 stops for a loss last season.
78. OL Michael Schofield, Jr. – Michigan: Started 10 games at left guard last season, but will move to right tackle this fall.
77. WR Kofi Hughes, Jr. – Indiana: The former high school quarterback led the Hoosiers in receptions last year with 35 catches for 536 yards and three touchdowns.
76. LB Glenn Carson, Jr. – Penn State: Finished fourth on the Nittany Lions squad in tackles, with 74 total stops.
75. LB Ryan Shazier, So. – Ohio State: Started the final three games of his true freshman year. Made 57 tackles including five for a loss over the course of the season.
74. WR DeAnthony Arnett – Michigan State: A very talented receiver, he made 24 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman for Tennessee before transferring.
73. DE Craig Roh, Sr. – Michigan: Has started 38 consecutive games over the last three seasons. In 2011, he made 32 tackles, including eight for a loss.
72. DT Larry Black Jr., Sr. – Indiana: Made 47 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks last season.
71. OL Jack Mewhort, Jr. – Ohio State: Saw his first starting action at right guard last fall, but will move to left tackle this season.
70. S Mark Murphy, So. – Indiana: Started six games at safety and three at linebacker as a true freshman, amassing 76 tackles, four pass break ups and one interception.
69. S Shelton Johnson, Sr. – Wisconsin: Fourth leading tackler on the Badgers’ squad last season with 54 stops. Also made six tackles for a loss and made four interceptions.
68. LB Will Compton, Sr. – Nebraska: Top returning tackler on the Cornhuskers’ squad with 82 stops and seven for a loss last fall.
67. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Jr. – Iowa: Started only five games last season, but pulled in 16 receptions for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
66. DT Adam Replogle, Sr. – Indiana: Made 49 tackles, including seven stops for a loss and four sacks as a team captain last fall.
65. QB Kain Colter, Jr. – Northwestern: An excellent athlete who has played wide receiver, he completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 673 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception as a backup signal caller.
64. LB Dwayne Beckford, Sr. – Purdue: Started eight games, making 91 tackles and seven for a loss, to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten.
63. LB Kenny Demens, LB – Michigan: Has started 20 games and led the Maize and Blue in tackles last fall with 94 stops.
62. S Tanner Miller, Jr. – Iowa: Made 76 tackles, three interceptions and three more pass break ups. His 98-yard interception return for a score against Northwestern tied the Iowa record for longest run back.
61. WR Antavian Edison, Sr. – Purdue: The Boilermakers leading receiver had 44 receptions for 584 yards and three touchdowns in 2011.
60. QB Taylor Martinez, Jr. – Nebraska: It may be ugly, but he does pile up yardage. His 2,963 yards combined rushing and passing total was sixth best in the conference last fall.
59. CB Bradley Roby, So. – Ohio State: Made 47 tackles and broke up six passes, intercepting three, as just a redshirt freshman last fall.
58. RB Stephen Houston, Jr. – Indiana: The junior college transfer rushed for 802 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011.
57. LB Jake Ryan, So. – Michigan: Only made 37 tackles last season, but showed incredible instincts and ability for a freshman.
56. OL Brian Mulroe, Sr. – Northwestern: Has started at left guard each of the last two seasons, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten acknowledgment in 2011.
55. WR Kenny Bell, So. – Nebraska: Somewhat inconsistent as a redshirt freshman, but showed great potential while pulling in 32 receptions for 461 yards and three touchdowns.
54. DT Baker Steinkuhler, Sr. – Nebraska: Named honorable mention All-Big Ten by both the media and conference coaches after making 40 tackles, including five stops for a loss and two sacks.
53. LB Chris Norman, Sr. – Michigan State: Finished fourth on the Spartans’ squad with 76 total tackles, with 6.5 of those stops being for a loss.
52. CB Blake Countess, So. – Michigan: Started the final six games of the season last fall, making six pass breakups and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshmen team by ESPN.com and BTN.com.
51. OL Chris McDonald, Sr. – Michigan State: Starting 26 games at right guard over the last two seasons; he is the most experienced player on the Michigan State offensive front.
50. FB Zach Boren, Sr. – Ohio State: Has started 27 games over the last three seasons and proven to be a good blocker, but will have to adjust his game to a new offense.
49. OL Patrick Omameh, Sr. – Michigan: Has made 29 consecutive starts at right guard for the Wolverines and twice been named Academic All-Big Ten.
48. K/P Brett Maher, Sr. – Nebraska: Led the conference in both field goals and punting. Will be a strong candidate for the Lou Groza College Place-Kicker Award.
47. QB Braxton Miller, So. – Ohio State: Passed for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 715 yards and seven more scores as just a true freshman.
46. S C.J. Barnett, Jr. – Ohio State: Among the most physically gifted safeties in the conference, he led all Buckeye defenders with 75 tackles last fall.
45. CB Darqueze Dennard, Jr. – Michigan State: Had a breakout performance in the Outback Bowl against Georgia, where he intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown.
44. OL James Ferentz, Sr. – Iowa: The head coach’s son has started 26 games over the last two seasons, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition last fall.
43. DE Cameron Meredith, Sr. – Nebraska: The former second-team All-Big 12 selection had a solid showing last fall with 58 tackles and five sacks.
42. LB Max Bullough, Jr. – Michigan State: A third generation member of the Green and White, he made 89 tackles, including seven for a loss as a sophomore.
41. WR Keenan Davis, Sr. – Iowa: Arguably the most physically gifted receiver in the conference, he had 50 receptions for 713 yards and four touchdowns, but is very inconsistent catching the ball.
40. LB Christian Kirksey, Jr. – Iowa: His 8.5 tackles per game ranked seventh best in the conference last fall. Had 110 total tackles including five for a loss.
39. WR Roy Roundtree, Sr. – Michigan: Had a modest junior season, but his 72 receptions for 935 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010 still commands respect.
38. CB Troy Stoudermire, Sr. – Minnesota: Among the top return men in the conference, he had a great start to his senior season at corner last fall before breaking his arm. Was granted a medical redshirt.
37. LB James Morris, Jr. – Iowa: Made 110 stops as just a sophomore to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition.
36. S Jordan Kovacs, Sr. – Michigan: The former walk-on specializes in plays close to the line of scrimmage, making 75 tackles in 2011, including an impressive eight for a loss.
35. WR/TE Jake Stoneburner, Jr. – Ohio State: Only pulled in 14 receptions at tight end last season, but seven of those went for scores. Will see work at wide receiver this fall.
34. DE Marcus Rush, So. – Michigan State: Made an impressive 12 stops for a loss, four sacks and five pass break ups as just a resdshirt freshman.
33. RB James White, Jr. – Wisconsin: Piled up 1,178 all-purpose yards without starting a single game.
32. QB Nathan Scheelhaase, Jr. – Illinois: Hit somewhat of a sophomore slump last fall, but still passed for 2,110 yards and 13 touchdowns, while providing a threat to run the ball as well.
31. S Ibraheim Campbell, So. – Northwestern: While he did not receive great recognition for his accomplishments last fall, he made an astounding 100 tackles as just a true freshman.
30. OL Spencer Long, Jr. – Nebraska: A former walk-on, he saw his first starting action as a sophomore last season, earning second-team All-Big Ten recognition from the media.
29. TE Jacob Pederson, Jr. – Wisconsin: Named second-team All-Big Ten by the media after pulling in 30 receptions for 356 yards and eight touchdowns.
28. CB Terry Hawthorne, Sr. – Illinois: Broke up eight passes last season and intercepting three to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition from both the media and coaches.
27. WR Jared Abbrederis, Jr. – Wisconsin: Made 55 receptions for 933 yards (17.0 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns to lead the Badgers in receiving yards.
26. DT Jordan Hill, Sr. – Penn State: Made 59 tackles, including eight for a loss, one forced fumble and three recoveries.
25. S Daimion Stafford, Sr. – Nebraska: The junior college transfer made 80 tackles, including three for a loss and broke up 10 passes.
24. DT Akeem Spence, Jr. – Illinois: Made an impressive 69 total stops, including 5.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
23. LB Denicos Allen, Jr. – Michigan State: The former high school safety had a breakout season in 2011, earning second-team All-Big Ten recognition from the media.
22. DE Michael Buchanan, Sr. – Illinois: Earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after making 64 tackles, including 13.5 for a loss and seven and a half sacks.
21. OL Travis Frederick, Jr. – Wisconsin: Played as a true freshman, but redshirted the following year. Came back in 2011 to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the media and coaches.
20. S Isaiah Lewis, Jr. – Michigan State: Made 74 tackles and intercepted four passes, returning two for touchdowns to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and media.
19. QB James Vandenberg, Sr. – Iowa: The best passing quarterback in the league with 3,022 yards, 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions a year ago.
18. LB Gerald Hodges, Sr. – Penn State: One of few returning starters, led the Nittany Lions with 106 tackles last season.
17. LB Jonathan Brown, Jr. – Illinois: Earned second-team All-Big Ten recognition after making 19.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage as a sophomore.
16. CB Ricardo Allen, Jr. – Purdue: Made 81 tackles, including three for a loss, broke up four passes, intercepted three, forced one fumble and blocked a kick as a sophomore.
15. DT Johnathan Hankins, Jr. – Ohio State: Made an impressive 67 total tackles, which was just eight stops shy of the Buckeye team lead. He had 11 tackles for a loss.
14. CB Micah Hyde, Sr. – Iowa: Has made 154 tackles over the last two seasons and also proven to be strong against the pass.
13. RB Le'Veon Bell, Jr. – Michigan State: Rushed for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns, and is also an excellent receiving threat. Should see more carries this fall with the departure of Edwin Baker.
12. RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, Jr. – Michigan: Had a breakout season last fall with 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns, most of which came in the final five games of the regular season.
11. OL Taylor Lewan, Jr. – Michigan: Among the more athletic offensive linemen in the conference, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the conference coaches as a sophomore.
10. LB Mike Taylor, Sr. – Wisconsin: Led the Big Ten in tackles last season, making 150 stops, including nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
9. OL Ricky Wagner, Sr. – Wisconsin: Enters the season with 24 starts under his belt, having earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition each of the last two years.
8. DE Williams Gholston, Jr. – Michigan State: Possessing very strong football instincts, his speed and agility are unique for a player with his height and reach.
7. RB Rex Burkhead, Sr. – Nebraska: Tough physical runner earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after rushing for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns.
6. CB Johnny Adams, Sr. – Michigan State: Has earned All-Big Ten honors each of the last two season, with first-team recognition coming last fall.
5. QB Denard Robinson, Sr. – Michigan: Led the conference in total offense each of the last two seasons, with 7,621 combined rushing and passing yards over that period.
4. LB Chris Borland, Jr. – Wisconsin: Made 143 tackles, including 19 stops for a loss, broke up five passes, intercepting two and forced five fumbles to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors.
3. DT Kawann Short, Sr. – Purdue: Has started three seasons and made 17 of his tackles for a loss, including 6.5 sacks as a junior.
2. DE John Simon, Sr. – Ohio State: Tough physical player that can work at end or tackle, he made 53 tackles, including 16 for a loss and seven sacks last fall.
1. RB Montee Ball, Sr. – Wisconsin: Tied the NCAA record for most touchdowns in a season with 39 scores and was third runner up for the Heisman Trophy.


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