Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Big Ten rankings: No. 5, Corey Liuget
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
The 2010 Big Ten postseason player rankings continue with ...
No. 5: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois, Jr., 6-3, 300
Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget was a force to be reckoned with in 2010.
2010 numbers: Recorded 63 tackles and led team in tackles for loss (12.5), sacks (4.5) and quarterback hurries (10); added three pass breakups; finished eighth in the league in sacks and seventh in tackles for loss; earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media.
Preseason rank: Unranked in the preseason top 25 players
Why he's here: Liuget was the Big Ten's most disruptive interior defensive lineman, creating a ton of problems for opponents all year long. The Illinois junior was the closest thing to this season's Jared Odrick, the former Penn State star who won Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009. Illinois' defense made major strides under first-year coordinator Vic Koenning, and no player impacted games more than Liuget.
The Illini star got stronger as the year progressed, setting the tone for a huge second half with a career-high 11 tackles against Minnesota, the most for an Illinois defensive tackle since 1996. He recorded four or more tackles in seven of the final eight games and had at least one tackle for loss in 10 of Illinois' 13 games. Not surprisingly, Liuget declared for the NFL draft following the season and should be a first-round pick in April.