- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan is the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year.
Get used to reading that sentence on the blog the next few weeks.
The Big Ten has no shortage of outstanding defenders this season, but Kerrigan is the best. End of story. He doesn't get nearly the recognition he deserves, but he'll get it here because I don't want to see Brandon Graham, Part II. Graham was the Big Ten's most dominant defender in 2009 but got overlooked for awards because he played for a losing team.
The Rotary Lombardi Award embarrassed itself by not naming Kerrigan a finalist. I just hope those who vote for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year don't make the same mistake.
Kerrigan recorded 10 tackles, five tackles for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in Saturday's loss to Michigan. He now has 23.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles for the season.
Kerrigan's two forced fumbles give him 14 for his career, which marks a new Big Ten record. The senior also is tied for the all-time FBS record for forced fumbles with Terrell Suggs (Arizona St., 2000-02), Antwan Peek (Cincinnati, 2000-02) and Kenechi Udeze, Southern California, (2001-03).
This isn't a knock against any other Big Ten defender. But Kerrigan has been the best this season, case closed.