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
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State