Thursday, May 12, 2011
Poll: The Big Ten's top impact performer
By Adam Rittenberg
It's now time to look at which Big Ten player will impact games the most during the 2011 season.
Although statistics are great, a better gauge for players is how they consistently impact games. It could be a quarterback carrying an offense with both his arm and his legs. It could be a disruptive defensive tackle changing an opponent's entire offensive strategy. It could be a cornerback taking away one side of the field. In rare cases, it can even be a specialist who's automatic on field-goal attempts from inside 55 yards or can pin the opponent back deep on punts.
Last season, Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt impacted games more than any other Big Ten defender. Although I'll stick by my pick of Ryan Kerrigan as the league's Defensive Player of the Year, Watt made impact plays nearly every time he took the field. On the offensive side, quarterbacks Denard Robinson (Michigan), Dan Persa (Northwestern) and Terrelle Pryor (Ohio State) seemed to impact games the most.
Let's put the spotlight on the 2011 season. Persa and Robinson both return, although Persa is coming off of a serious injury and Robinson is learning a new system. Iowa defensive back Micah Hyde showed last season that he can impact games in big ways. I've seen defensive tackles consistently impact games in the Big Ten, and Nebraska's Jared Crick and Michigan's Mike Martin are two players to watch.
It's your turn to vote on this topic.