- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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We're counting down our rankings of the Top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2013 season. This list is based on past performance and potential for the upcoming season only. We do not consider NFL potential for purposes of these rankings.
It's pretty sweet to be in the top 16 of these rankings, and the next guy on the list has been a top player in the league for quite a while now ...
No. 16: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin, senior, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds
2012 postseason ranking: Not ranked
2012 numbers: Caught 49 passes for 837 yards and five touchdowns. Also returned 17 punts for 111 yards.
Why he's here: It's still a little hard to believe that Abbrederis began his career as a walk-on, as he has developed into one of the very best wideouts in the Big Ten. The 2013 season will be his third straight as a full-time starter, and he's hoping to play in his fourth Rose Bowl, which would be an unbelievable accomplishment.
Abbrederis has 2,059 career receiving yards at a school known much more for its rushing attack. Nebraska fans might ask why we ranked Abbrederis ahead of Kenny Bell, who had more catches, yards and touchdowns last season. The reason is that Abbrederis put up good numbers last year despite being slowed by injuries, having no consistent quarterback play and virtually no other dependable threat in the passing game. Put him in Nebraska's deep receiving corps, with a quarterback like Taylor Martinez, and his numbers could be really special.
Plus, Abbrederis is an elite punt returner who was one of the very best in the nation two years ago. He is averaging an outstanding 11.2 yards per punt return during his career. Abbrederis has come close to gaining 1,000 yards receiving each of the past two years and is averaging over 17 yards per catch during that span. With some luck in the health department and better quarterback play from the Badgers, he could be poised to end his Wisconsin career with a bang.
No. 25: Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
No. 24: Mark Weisman, RB, Iowa
No. 23: James White, RB, Wisconsin
No. 22: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
No. 21: John Urschel, G, Penn State
No. 20: Tyler Scott, DE, Northwestern
No. 19: Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
No. 18: Deion Barnes, DE, Penn State
No. 17: Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska