Big Ten rankings: No. 16, Michael Buchanan
August, 10, 2012
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
Our countdown of the top 25 players in the Big Ten for 2012 has reached the Sweet 16.
As a reminder, we're considering past performance and 2012 potential in these rankings. We focus today on a guy who might be about to emerge from someone else's shadow, in a big way ...
No. 16: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois, senior, 6-foot-6, 240 pounds
2011 postseason rank: Not ranked
2011 numbers: Ranked second on team and fourth in Big Ten with 7.5 sacks, to go along with 64 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Named second-team All-Big Ten.
Why he's here: Teammate Whitney Mercilus got all the pub last year, and rightfully so after leading the nation in sacks and forced fumbles. But Buchanan quietly had a really fine year as well with his 7.5 sacks. Now, you could make the argument that Buchanan got free because offenses were concentrating on the Hendricks Award winner on the other side. But you could also say teams couldn't really load up against Mercilus because of Buchanan.
Truth is, they're both awfully good. Buchanan is a little bit different player, a long and lanky defensive end with a lot of athleticism. He's bulking up in an effort to get to 250 pounds by kickoff on Sept. 1. He could also drop back in coverage a little bit and use those long arms to his advantage. Now fully healed from a scary jaw injury this offseason, Buchanan could be eating up quarterbacks this fall. Don't be surprised if he becomes the new star of the Illini defense.
No. 25: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
No. 24: MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota
No. 23: Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue
No. 22: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
No. 21: Jared Abbrederis, WR/KR, Wisconsin
No. 20: Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State
No. 19: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
No. 18: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
No. 17: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
9:00 PM ET 14 Wisconsin 13 LSU Final Penn State 26 UCF 24 Final Youngstown State 17 Illinois 28 Final Indiana State 10 Indiana 28 Final Northern Iowa 23 Iowa 31 Final Appalachian State 14 Michigan 52 Final 5 Ohio State 34 Navy 17 Final Western Michigan 34 Purdue 43 Final Florida Atlantic 7 22 Nebraska 55 Final California 31 Northwestern 24 Final James Madison 7 Maryland 52
Final Eastern Illinois 20 Minnesota 42 Final Rutgers 41 Washington State 38