Big Ten rankings: No. 11, Allen Robinson

The Big Ten postseason player rankings are full of surprises, and our next player certainly qualified as one in 2012. As a reminder, these rankings are based solely on performance during the past season. This guy caught 11 touchdown passes for Penn State, so it's fitting he checks in at ...

No. 11: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State, sophomore, 6-foot-3, 201 pounds

Preseason rank: Not ranked

2012 numbers: Had 77 receptions for 1,013 yards and 11 touchdowns, leading the Big Ten in all three categories and setting a team single-season record for receptions. Named the Big Ten's Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year.

Why he's here: If you had Robinson in the Big Ten’s best wide receiver of 2012 pool before the season, hop on the next flight to Vegas. Although wide receiver certainly was a mystery position around the league entering the fall after so many key departures from 2011, Robinson had recorded only three catches for 29 yards as a freshman and played in an offense that had struggled mightily to do much of anything.

But Robinson quickly won over new Penn State coach Bill O'Brien with his practice performance, and O'Brien labeled the sophomore as a potential difference-maker in 2012. Was he ever. Robinson turned heads from Game 1, when he had nine receptions for 97 yards. He was by far the league's most consistent wideout, finishing with four games of nine or more receptions, 10 games of five or more receptions, seven games of more than 80 receiving yards and two games with three touchdown catches (Navy, Indiana). He had four more touchdowns than any other Nittany Lions player. Robinson not only proved to be a red-zone threat but stretched the field with nine catches of 30 yards or longer and 16 catches of 20 yards or longer.

Thanks to Robinson, quarterback Matt McGloin, tight end Kyle Carter and others, Penn State’s pass offense went from one of the league’s most questionable to one of its best (273.2 ypg). Robinson set the team receptions record and finished with the second-highest touchdowns receptions total and third-highest receiving yards total (trailing former star Bobby Engram in both categories). He had nine more receptions, 150 more receiving yards and three more touchdown catches than any other Big Ten player in 2012.

The countdown

No. 25: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

No. 24: Michael Carter, CB, Minnesota

No. 23: Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern

No. 22: Spencer Long, G, Nebraska

No. 21: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

No. 20: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

No. 19: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

No. 18: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

No. 17: Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan

No. 16: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

No. 15: Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State

No. 14: Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State

No. 13: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin

No. 12: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State