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Friday, August 17, 2012
Big Ten rankings: No. 11, Johnny Adams

By Brian Bennett

We're close to top-10 range in our preseason Big Ten players countdown. Remember that these rankings are based on past performance and 2012 potential.

The next guy on our list could find himself on some All-America teams this season ...

No. 11: Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State, senior, 5-foot-11, 177 pounds

2011 postseason rank: Not ranked.

2011 numbers: Had 51 tackles, including three sacks along with three interceptions and six passes broken up. Named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches.

Why he's here: Adams is not afraid to tussle. He is terrific at jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage or flying off the corner on a blitz, like he did to sack Denard Robinson on fourth down in a crucial play last year against Michigan.

"He plays with an attitude," Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi told me this spring. "You've got to have that when you're pressing up on people just about every down."

If Adams were merely a bruiser, he might not be all that special. What sets him apart is that he's also excellent in coverage, making him a premier player at his position. He's got a chance to be a first-round NFL pick, and his coaches say he's become more of a student of the game this offseason. We know Adams is not going to back down from any challenge.

The countdown

No. 25Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
No. 24MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota
No. 23Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue
No. 22Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
No. 21Jared Abbrederis, WR/KR, Wisconsin
No. 20Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State
No. 19Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
No. 18: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
No. 17Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
No. 16Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
No. 15Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan
No. 14Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
No. 13James Vandenberg, QB, Iowa
No. 12: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin