Big Ten rankings: No. 2, Devon Still

We're almost there now.

Our Big Ten top 25 player countdown is down to its final two members, the absolute cream of the crop. As a reminder (we promise we'll only write this one more time), we're basing these rankings on 2011 performance and impact, and not on other factors like NFL potential.

Taking the silver medal is Big Ten's reigning defensive player of the year ...

No. 2: Devon Still, DT, Penn State, 6-5, 310

Preseason rank: Not ranked

2011 numbers: Started all 13 games for the Nittany Lions, finishing with 55 tackles, including 17 for loss and 4.5 sacks with one forced fumble.

Why he's here: One word describes Still's senior season: unblockable.

Or to use a few more words, as Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said, Still "caused just complete and total chaos in the backfield." Rarely has a defensive tackle provided so many matchup nightmares as Still did in 2011. A light bulb seemed to go off for him before the 2011 Outback Bowl, and he carried that into his final season in State College. Still always had the strength and physical talents, but he married that with a nonstop motor and desire to be the best. That turned him into an All-American.

Teams had little choice but to double-team Still to try and slow him down, and that only opened up opportunities for the rest of Penn State's defense. Still was finally quieted in the final two games as he was banged up a bit. But by then he had already made his point: He was the best defensive player in the Big Ten.


No. 3: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin

No. 4: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

No. 5: David Molk, C, Michigan

No. 6: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

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