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Monday, March 21, 2011
More on the Big Ten player rankings

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

The 2010 Big Ten postseason player rankings (Top 25) are in the books. Wipe those tears away. A new rundown for 2011, which will include Nebraska players, isn't too far in the distance.

Let's begin to break down the rankings.

By team:

Ohio State: 6
Wisconsin: 5
Illinois: 3
Michigan State: 2
Iowa: 2
Indiana: 2
Michigan: 2
Penn State: 1
Northwestern: 1
Purdue: 1

Ohio State and Wisconsin dominated the rundown, and each team could have had more players (Brian Rolle, Montee Ball) on the list. Illinois had three players finish in the top eight, all juniors who declared for the NFL draft.

By position:

QB: 7
OL: 6
DL: 5
WR: 2
LB: 2
RB: 2
DB: 1

Some certainly will question the selections, but after several seasons where quarterback was a weakness in the Big Ten, the signal caller spot undoubtedly became a position of strength this season. Nearly every Big Ten team had a quarterback who improved -- in several cases, dramatically so -- upon his 2009 production. Even some of the quarterbacks who didn't make the rankings, like Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase and Minnesota's Adam Weber, really helped their teams this past season.

Looking back at the preseason Big Ten rankings, 14 of the 25 players selected also made the postseason rundown.

Several players ended up more or less where they were projected: Wisconsin's John Moffitt (preseason No. 15, postseason No. 14); Indiana's Tandon Doss (preseason No. 14, postseason No. 19) and Iowa's Ricky Stanzi (preseason No. 18, postseason No. 17). Other players made major moves up the board, like Wisconsin's J.J. Watt (preseason No. 25, postseason No. 2) and Illinois' Mikel Leshoure (preseason No. 24, postseason No. 7). And some players came from off the radar to soar up the rankings, like Illinois' Corey Liuget (preseason unranked, postesason No. 5).

Despite doing these rankings for several years, I'm still struggling to find the formula that best resonates. My rankings are subjective and not designed to please everyone, but the best criteria (NFL potential, college production, impact) is still open for debate. I'll definitely reach out to you folks for help before putting together the 2011 preseason rankings.

Who just missed the cut for the Top 25? It's tough to narrow down the pool to 25 names, and these 10 players were strongly considered for the rundown.
A few final notes and a request:
Whether you liked my rankings or hated them, you have your own opinions. Send me your top 25 Big Ten players from 2010 and include a short rationale (150 words or less). I'll include the best ones in a post later this week.