The Big Ten is known for its defense, and a tough defense starts with the men up front.
Michigan's Brandon Graham and Ohio State's Thaddeus Gibson have moved onto the NFL, and top linemen like O'Brien Schofield, and Jared Odrick are also gone.
But that doesn't mean the Big Ten isn't still stocked with defensive line talent.
Iowa returns all of its very talented line from last year. Hawkeye Adrian Clayborn and Ohio State's Cameron Heyward return for their senior campaigns despite the millions they would have received in the NFL.
The league also returns its sack leader in Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan.
With the talent returning, the conference should have some of the top D-linemen in the nation this fall. Here is the top 10, with a few dark horses on the outside.
Although they might not be in the top 10, here are some guys who should also be mighty impressive this fall:
Dexter Larimore/John Simon, Ohio State: The defensive tackle tandem of the Buckeyes will be a handful this season.
Larimore eats up a huge amount of space in the middle, but his lingering knee injuries have slowed him. Simon has emerged as a big-time talent at 3-technique even though he's a true sophomore. The kid is a also a monster in the weight room
Ryan Van Bergen, Michigan: Van Bergen has always been a steady producer for the Wolverines. He started all 12 games at defensive tackle and recorded 40 tackles and five sacks. He's expected to take Graham's place as the Wolverines' primary pass-rusher with Michigan moving to the 3-3-5.
Larry Black, Indiana: Although Indiana might be stuck in the Big Ten basement, the Hoosiers do have some talent here and there. Black was a stand out at defensive tackle last season, where he had 29 tackles with 7.5 for loss. He has a non-stop motor and is a smart, intelligent player.
Standing at 6'3" and weighing 300 pounds, Liuget is a big-time NFL prospect and will be a force for the Illini this fall.
Liuget only started four games last season, but recorded 36 tackles with eight for loss in his twelve performances.
The Illini defensive tackle is athletic for his size and actually came to Illinois as a defensive end prospect. Ron Zook will be counting on the junior to help lead his defense this fall.
Ballard is one of the four returning defensive linemen for the Hawkeyes, and the first of many that will be on this list.
Last season, the defensive tackle had 54 tackles (13 for loss) and 5.5 sacks and was essential to Iowa's defensive excellence.
The tandem of Ballard and Karl Klug will be one of the best defensive tackle combinations in the country next fall. Ballard can plug the middle, but has the speed and quickness to penetrate and make plays in the backfield.
Originally a defensive end, Clayborn combination of tenacity and quickness make him one of the hardest players to block in the Big Ten.
With Michigan moving to the 3-3-5 this season, Martin will be the main man in the middle for the Wolverines.
In his 12 starts last season, Martin recorded 51 tackles (8.5 for loss) with two sacks, good enough to earn him the Richard Katcher award for Michigan's top defensive lineman.
Martin is one of the strongest players in the Big Ten and will be hard for any offensive lineman to stop. On top of his strength, he provides some great speed and quickness that help him move vertically at the line of scrimmage.
With Michigan moving to the 3-3-5, Martin will be an important cog in its success.
Wisconsin fans are ready for Watt to emerge in 2010.
The defensive end came on strong towards the end of last season and ended the year with 44 tackles (15 for loss) and 4.5 sacks.
Now, he will try to step into O'Brien Schofield's shoes as the top Badger defensive lineman.
He has the size and athleticism to dominate from the end position. The versatile lineman is also a sound fundamental player, using a wide array of moves to beat offensive linemen.
With Wisconsin having a weak secondary, pressure from Watt will be essential for the Badgers to succeed. With all that he brings to the table, that shouldn't be a problem.
Binns marks the second of many Hawkeyes on the list.
With Adrian Clayborn getting so much attention opposite of Binns, the defensive end should get plenty of chances to get to the quarterback in 2010.
He already has shown his ability, meriting 6.5 sacks last year along with 10 tackles for loss. The end also had an astonishing nine pass breakups, showing he can disrupt opposing offenses in other ways. His long arms and athleticism make him very difficult to block.
While Clayborn might eat up all the attention on the other side of the line, Binns will make his presence known.
The athletic freak of nature began last season as a very raw product, but emerged as one of the league's top ends by the end of the year.
Crawford finished 2009 with 5.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, both good enough to put him in the top ten in the conference.
The defensive end is one of the most athletic players in all the Big Ten and, even with his big year last year, still has room to grow. 2010 marks only his fifth year of playing organized football.
His emergence will make the losses of Jared Odrick and Navarro Bowman a lot more easier this fall from Happy Valley.
Klug marks the third Hawkeye on the list, showing just how strong the Iowa line will be in 2010.
Although a bit undersized at 270 pounds, Klug has a motor that doesn't stop, something that has gotten him compared to recent top Hawkeye defensive tackles like Mitch King and Mark Roth.
In his first year as a starter last season, Klug was a force all season, making 65 tackles (13 for loss) and four sacks.
As the picture above shows, he was an essential factor in Iowa's stopping of Georgia Tech's running game. His constant penetration earned him six tackles and a sack against the Yellow Jackets.
While defensive linemen like Adrian Clayborn and Cameron Heyward eat up attention, Kerrigan's ability can't be forgotten.
Although the Purdue defense wasn't too good last season, Kerrigan was a big performer for the Boilermakers.
He finished the season with a conference-leading 13 sacks and a school-record seven forced fumbles. The end also had 18.5 tackles for a loss.
Ohio State fans remember Kerrigan well, as he was a huge force in the Boilermakers upset over the Buckeyes early in the year. His four tackles for loss and three sacks were essential to the win.
Although 13 sacks might not be attainable again, look for Kerrigan to be a force all year long in the Big Ten.
His ability and performance have put him in the same conversation as the two guys I'll mention next.
Heyward does a little bit of everything for the Buckeyes.
He's shown he can dominate on the inside at defensive tackle, but thrives at his normal defensive end position.
The lineman was considered a first round pick in this year's draft, but came back to secure his legacy as a Buckeye.
Heyward gave opposing linemen fits all season last year. Combining his superb quickness and great strength, he finished the year with 6.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Like Kerrigan, he has the ability to show up in the biggest games. His two best contests were against USC and Wisconsin last year, and played a huge part in the slowing of Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
Clayborn earned this honor after his ridiculous performance in the Orange Bowl last season against Georgia Tech.
The defensive end was constantly blowing up plays in the backfield en route to nine tackles (two for loss) and two sacks. Clayborn was constantly unleashing the pain on Yellow Jackets Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer.
Like Heyward, Clayborn could have left for the pros and been arguably a top 10 to 15 pick. He chose to come back to Iowa City and is the key member of one of the country's best defensive lines.
Clayborn's ridiculous combination of speed and strength make him almost impossible to block. With a season left in his college career, Clayborn will look to secure his legacy with a dominant 2010.