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Big Ten rankings: No. 16, Denard Robinson

2/17/2012

Our Big Ten Top 25 players countdown has reached its Sweet Sixteen. We remind you again that this list is based on 2011 performance and impact alone and not any other factors like NFL potential.

Few guys made an impact, both good and bad, quite like ...

No. 16: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan, Jr., 6-foot, 195

Preseason rank: No. 2

2011 stats: Completed 55 percent of his passes for 2,173, with 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Carried 221 times for 1,176 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns.

Why he's here: No player caused more disagreement on this list between Adam and me than Shoelace. I argued for putting Robinson higher than this, while Adam wanted him much lower. We compromised in the middle, and I'm betting this ranking will cause a lot of debate among fans.

It all depends on how you judge Robinson's 2011 season. At his best, he was the most dynamic and dangerous player in the Big Ten. See his dominant performances against Notre Dame (446 total yards, five touchdowns) and Ohio State (337 total yards, five scores). At his worst, he was a liability to his team. He threw more interceptions than any Big Ten quarterback and made far too many mistakes against Michigan State and Northwestern. Robinson was often bailed out by his receivers going up and grabbing jump balls or making spectacular plays -- see the Sugar Bowl -- and a heroic defense.

You also have to consider that he was playing in a new system and that an undisclosed staph infection in his throwing arm hurt his productivity in the middle of the season.

In the end, it's tough to ignore the fact that Robinson led the Big Ten -- again -- in total offense, was responsible for 36 touchdowns, ran for more than 1,000 yards as a quarterback and led his team to an 11-2 record and BCS win. It's also tough to figure out exactly where to rank him on this list.

Previously

No. 17: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

No. 18:
A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois

No. 19:
Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State

No. 20
: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

No. 21
: Marcus Coker, RB, Iowa

No. 22
: Silas Redd, RB, Penn State

No. 23
: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

No. 24
: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

No. 25
: Fitz Toussaint, RB, Michigan