Big Ten rankings: No. 23, Karl Klug

The Big Ten preseason player rankings, based on past performance and 2010 potential, continue with ...

No. 23: Karl Klug, Sr., DT, Iowa, Sr., 6-4, 258

2009 numbers: Led Big Ten defensive tackles in tackles with 65 (ranked 49th overall in the league); finished second on the Hawkeyes in tackles for loss (13) and recorded four sacks, two forced fumbles and five pass breakups.

Most recent ranking: Unranked in the 2009 postseason player rankings.

Making the case for Klug: Adrian Clayborn gets most of the hype on Iowa's defensive line, but Klug is the glue guy. He has started only one season but has been a part of the defensive line rotation since 2008. Much like former Iowa standout Mitch King, Klug is an undersized defensive tackle who consistently makes his way into the offensive backfield, recording 18 tackles for loss and six sacks in his career. As several standout defensive tackles (Jared Odrick, Mike Neal, Doug Worthington) depart the Big Ten and others move into primarily pass-rushing spots (J.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward), Klug has a chance to be the league's top interior defensive lineman. Head coach Kirk Ferentz singled out Klug this spring, telling me, "If you surveyed any 10 of our players now, at least nine of them would tell you, maybe 10, that Karl Klug is one of our best leaders and one of our best players."

The rundown

  • No. 25: Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt

  • No. 24: Illinois RB Mikel LeShoure