The Big Ten has made its name on defense.
Think of all the great Big Ten teams and you invariably think of strong defensive teams. From the current Michigan State defense, if you think back to a dominant Big Ten team, the first thing that comes to mind for most is defense.
Ohio State's run of dominance over the last decade? Driven by a strong defense.
Michigan in the 90's? Defense.
Penn State? That's why they call it Linebacker U.
Nebraska? One of the biggest selling points was Nebraska's history of fielding dominant defensive units.
Some of the best defensive players of all time have come out of the Big Ten, and this year is no different. The conference may lack offensive firepower outside of Madison, but one thing teams in the Big Ten will always focus on is punishing defense (just ask Rich Rodriguez).
With that in mind let's look at some of the best defensive players in the Big Ten this year.
(Presented in no particular order because ranking players this good is simply picking nits.)