This is the latest in a series of articles previewing Big Ten football in 2012. A rough schedule of previous and upcoming preview articles is provided at the end of this article.
Linebackers. There is no word that puts fear into skill players and quarterbacks like linebackers. These are the middle anchors of the strong Big Ten defenses, and these players have an interesting mix of size and speed.
Some players like Greg Jones from Michigan State rack up truly outstanding numbers over their career and end up playing in the pros. Many of the others will have nice college careers but may not move on to more football after this. Without at least solid linebackers, the glue that holds the defense together will fail and the defense will fall apart.
With some of the biggest names in the defensive side of the conference returning for another season, let's take a look at some of the high risers and the returning greats making up the 10 best linebackers in the Big Ten. Just don't get in front of these freight trains when they are tracking down a quarterback or running back.