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Alfonzo Dennard (Nebraska), Micah Hyde (Iowa), Nick Sukay (Penn State), Isaiah Lewis (Michigan State)
Most positions in football you can look at the stat sheet and see who the best players are. This is not the case for defensive backs. The players on this list do not have the best stats, but that is because most teams stayed away from them the entire game.
Alfonzo Dennard was a shutdown corner for the Cornhuskers this season. When Nebraska played Michigan State Dennard did not allow the Spartans star receiver, B.J. Cunningham to catch a ball. When the Cornhuskers played Iowa, Dennard held the Big Ten Receiver of the Year to four catches for 29 yards. Dennard was awarded the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back Award. The award is given to the best defensive back in the Big Ten Conference. That is saying a lot for a guy who missed the first four games.
Micah Hyde was a playmaker for the Hawkeyes in 2011. Hyde was tied for the lead in the Big Ten Conference in passes defended with 10. He also had 68 tackles, 3 interceptions, and returned 12 punts for 88 yards.
Nick Sukay was the leader of the Penn State secondary. Sukay led the Big Ten Conference in passes defended with 10. He ended the regular season with 59 tackles, and 3 interceptions.
Michigan State also had a playmaker in their secondary. Isaiah Lewis led the Big Ten Conference in interceptions and had seven passes defended. He would have had more passes defended but most teams stayed away from him in 2011. Those who didn’t, watched Lewis intercept their passes.
Other players who had good seasons but just missed making the list include: Shaun Prater (Iowa), Johnny Adams (Michigan State), Aaron Henry (Wisconsin), Ricardo Allen (Purdue), and C.J. Barnett (Ohio State).