Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Five who just missed the player rankings
By ESPN.com staff
The Big Ten preseason player rankings are in the books.
As always, I expect the postseason rundown to look very differently. It always does. Last season's top player, Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, was No. 10 in the preseason rundown. Last season's No. 3 player, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, didn't even make the preseason list entering the 2009 season.
For the preseason rankings, I reduced the number of players from 30 to 25, and I've got to say it was much tougher to determine the final few spots. Several of you expressed outrage about players who didn't appear in the rundown. I even exchanged some friendly texts with a Big Ten player who seemed surprised not to be in the top 25.
Anyway, here are five players who just missed the cut. I'd be surprised if a few of these guys don't make the postseason rundown.
Ohio State C Michael Brewster: Unlike some other Buckeyes offensive linemen, Brewster has lived up to his recruiting hype so far in Columbus, starting two seasons at center. Brewster has made 23 starts and should contend for first-team All-Big Ten honors this fall, especially with Stefen Wisniewski moving back to guard.
Iowa WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos: DJK has led Iowa in receiving in each of his first three years, racking up 1,871 career receiving yards. He's on pace to set team records for both receptions and receiving yards after earning second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2009. In conference games, Johnson-Koulianos ranked second in the league in kickoff returns (32.2 ypr) and third in receiving yards (74.9 ypg).
Wisconsin WR Nick Toon: Toon is primed for a huge year after recording 54 receptions and 805 receiving yards -- second most for a Wisconsin sophomore -- in 2009. He recorded four or more receptions in eight games last season. The next step for Toon is finding the end zone more often after earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2009.
Michigan G Stephen Schilling: No Michigan players made the top 25, but Schilling came awfully close. He has started 36 games at three different positions and was named Michigan's top offensive lineman in each of the last two seasons. Schilling leads a front five that could be Michigan's top unit this fall, and he projects as the nation's No. 3 guard for the 2011 NFL draft, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper.
Michigan State WR Keshawn Martin: Martin already has established himself as the Big Ten's top return man, finishing third in the league in all-purpose yards (111.6 ypg), third in kick returns (28.9 ypr) and fifth in punt returns (7.4 ypr) in 2009. He didn't make the top 25 because he needs to do more as a wide receiver, but his big-play ability is obvious after he averaged 22.8 yards per catch and hauled in five touchdowns last season. Martin also had 219 rush yards, so he could have a huge year in 2010.