Later today, I'll begin the countdown of the top 25 Big Ten players from the 2010 season.
Before diving in, a few items about the rankings:
Any player who participated in Big Ten play during the 2010 season is eligible. Nebraska fans will have to check out colleague David Ubben's Big 12 rankings to see which Huskers made the list.
There are a lot of ways to do these rankings, but I really tried the find the 25 players who not only excelled at their positions but made the biggest impact on their teams and in the games in which they played. This list isn't necessarily about numbers. I asked myself questions like: Who affected the game each time he took the field? Whose presence would have been missed most? Who made those around him better? Not surprisingly, I chose a lot more quarterbacks than running backs since quarterback was a position of strength in the Big Ten this fall.
If applicable, bowl performances helped or hurt players' stock in the rankings. Although 2010-11 wasn't a great bowl season for the Big Ten by any means, several players you'll see in the rankings really helped themselves by stepping up on the big stage.
This isn't a list of the top 25 NFL prospects from the Big Ten. We can do one later, but these are players who excelled on the college stage for their teams in 2010. That's it.
There are a ton of excellent football players who didn't make the rundown. Trimming the list from 30 to 25 wasn't easy and turned out to be quite painful.
Just to tease you a little more, here's my position breakdown for the postseason top 25 players:
Enjoy the rundown and feel free to put together your own lists and send them to me.