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Thursday, January 23, 2014
Big Ten postseason player rankings: No. 19

By Brian Bennett

The postseason Top 25 countdown has reached the teens now. As a reminder, this list takes into account 2013 performance only and not any other factors such as NFL potential.

This next guy definitely has pro possibilities, though, after an outstanding career that somehow began without a scholarship ...

No. 19: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin

Previous ranking: No. 16

Jared Abbrederis
Jared Abbrederis had a career-defining game at Ohio State.
Making the case for Abbrederis: The Twitter handle for the Badgers star is @abbrecadabra, suggesting some sort of magical reason for his sustained success. But there really is no trick to his game.

"You get what you see with Jared," head coach Gary Andersen said last fall. "There are no secret agendas, no hidden agendas."

The only thing resembling a sleight of hand with Abbrederis would be his underrated speed, which seemed to continually catch defenders off guard. Or hopelessly chasing him toward the end zone.

A precise route-runner with sure hands, Abbrederis put up career-highs with 78 catches for 1,081 yards and nine total touchdowns in 2013. He did that despite being the only Wisconsin receiver that other teams ever worried about. Sure, Abbrederis benefited from all the attention opposing defenses focused on the Badgers' outstanding running game, but he also could have had even bigger numbers had quarterback Joel Stave hit him in stride on all the many times Abbrederis worked to get wide open.

The highlight of Abbrederis' season came early, when he destroyed the single-coverage plan Ohio State had for him with star cornerback Bradley Roby. Abbrederis finished with 10 catches for 207 yards that night, and afterward Urban Meyer said he'd vote for Abbrederis for every receiving award.

He won the 2013 Burlsworth Award as the nation's top former walk-on and ended his career tied for the most career receptions and second-most career receiving yards in Wisconsin history. There's only one thing left to say:

Ta-da!

The countdown