Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Ranking the Big Ten: Mike Kafka, No. 25
By ESPN.com staff
The Big Ten postseason player rankings continue with ...
Mike Kafka, QB, Northwestern, Sr., 6-3, 220
Preseason ranking: Unranked
Why he's here: Kafka not only went from anonymous to all-conference, but he reinvented himself during his senior season. Known primarily as a running quarterback -- he set the Big Ten single-game quarterback rushing record in 2008 with 217 yards against Minnesota -- Kafka became the trigger man for the league's top passing attack this fall. Northwestern had an uncharacteristically poor season running the ball, so Kafka took to the air and passed for 3,430 yards and 16 touchdowns. Few will forget Kafka's Outback Bowl stat line -- 5 interceptions, 4 touchdowns, 47 completions, 532 pass yards, an NCAA record 98 total plays -- but he was very steady during the season.
These rankings are also based in part on future potential, and Kafka helped his NFL chances down the stretch and at the East-West Shrine Game, where he led the game-winning drive and earned offensive MVP honors. Kafka was a second-team All-Big Ten selection, but he could be the first Big Ten quarterback selected in April's draft. He boasts good size and still has some mobility, and he'll be an asset if he can adjust to a pro-style system and taking the snap from under center.