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Big Ten rankings: Lavonte David, No. 6

3/3/2012

There's only a few more names to rattle off on the Big Ten postseason top 25 player countdown. In case you needed a reminder, these rankings are based on overall performance during the 2011 season and impact on a given team, and not on factors such as NFL potential.

Up next, a guy named David who played like Goliath for Nebraska at ...

No. 6: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska, Sr., 6-foot-1, 225

Preseason rank: No. 5

2011 numbers: Started all 13 games and led Nebraska in total tackles (133), solo tackles (65), tackles for loss (13), sacks (5.5), forced fumbles (3) and fumbles recovered (2); tied for team lead in interceptions (2) and added three quarterback hurries.

Why he's here: No Big Ten linebacker had a better mix of consistent production and impact plays than David, who played only two seasons in Lincoln but won't soon be forgotten. While some Nebraska defenders struggled with the transition to the Big Ten, David once again put up big numbers and earned the inaugural Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award for his efforts. He earned first-team All-America honors from the AFCA and appeared on several other All-America teams, including ESPN.com's. While his 2011 performance might not have resonated nationally as much as his 2010 showing, he was just as good.

David finished 18th nationally in tackles per game (10.23 tpg), finished ninth in the Big Ten in sacks and tied for 12th in tackles for loss. He played a major role in Nebraska's historic comeback against Ohio State, forcing and recovering a fumble that sparked the Huskers' rally. David also displayed growth as a leader in addressing his fellow defenders after a lousy first half against the Buckeyes.

He recorded eight or more tackles in nine games and was one of the few Huskers defenders who performed well even in the team's losses to Wisconsin and Michigan. While Nebraska admittedly was undermanned at linebacker, David did all he could to keep the defense afloat in its first Big Ten go-round. In two years David recorded 285 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

Previously

No. 7: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

No. 8
: Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa

No. 9: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State

No. 10: Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska

No. 11: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

No. 12: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

No. 13
: Riley Reiff, LT, Iowa

No. 14
: B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State

No. 15
: John Simon, DL, Ohio State

No. 16: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

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