Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Ranking the Big Ten: Corey Wootton, No. 29
By ESPN.com staff
The postseason top 30 rankings continue with ...
Corey Wootton, DE, Northwestern, Sr., 6-7, 280
Preseason rank: 9
Why he's here: Future potential plays a big role in these rankings, and Wootton is still a solid NFL prospect despite an up-and-down senior season for the Wildcats. After tearing his ACL in the 2008 Alamo Bowl, Wootton took some time to get up to speed, and he also dealt with a high-ankle sprain during Big Ten play. Down the stretch, he showed he can be a difference maker, recording four sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Wootton made arguably the biggest play of the Big Ten season, one that had a major impact on two teams (Northwestern and Iowa). He sacked Hawkeyes quarterback Ricky Stanzi in the end zone of a Nov. 7 game that undefeated Iowa led 10-0, jarring the ball loose for a touchdown. Stanzi missed the rest of the regular season as Iowa dropped back-to-back games, while Northwestern, an unimpressive 5-4 at that point, went 3-0 in November with two wins against ranked opponents. It wasn't the type of season Wootton envisioned, but he helped Northwestern reach a New Year's Day bowl and should be drafted in the second or third round in April.
- No. 30: Michigan State WR Blair White