Big Ten rankings: No. 20, Brian Rolle

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

No. 20: Brian Rolle, LB, Ohio State, Sr., 5-11, 218

2009 numbers: Ranked ninth in the Big Ten in total tackles with 94 and finished 13th in the league in tackles per game (7.2); finished fourth on the Buckeyes in tackles for loss (7) and added an interception and a fumble recovery.

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

Making the case for Rolle: Rolle found himself among a group of overlooked Big Ten linebackers who turned in very solid performances last season. He ranked ninth in the league in tackles with 94 and led Ohio State linebacker with seven tackles for loss. Rolle also recorded an interception, a fumble recovery and two pass deflections. He made a name for himself as a playmaker early in 2009, intercepting a two-point conversion attempt in the season opener against Navy and racing 100 yards to the opposite end zone. All signs point toward Rolle having a huge senior season as he forms arguably the Big Ten's best linebacker tandem with classmate Ross Homan, who you'll see higher in these rankings. Rolle always has something to say, and his vocal leadership should help an Ohio State defense that loses co-captains Kurt Coleman and Doug Worthington.

The rundown

  • No. 25: Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt

  • No. 24: Illinois RB Mikel LeShoure

  • No. 23: Iowa DT Karl Klug

  • No. 22: Northwestern LB Quentin Davie

  • No. 21: Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins