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Latest Unit Rankings News

Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns an interception 88 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 defensive backs

Is there a better defensive back in the nation than Iowa’s Desmond King, the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner? Probably not. He emerged last year as a special talent for a Hawkeye defense that helped the program race to a school-record 12-0 start en route to winning the Big Ten West and earning the school’s first Rose Bowl bid since the 1990 season. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Top 10 offensive linemen | Top 10 defensive linemen | Top 10 linebackers | Full unit rankings ] King is so talented,

Sep 26, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Josey Jewell (43) runs back an interception 34 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the North Texas Mean Green at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes won 62-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 linebackers

Linebackers have to be a special breed of athlete, able to be strong enough to play the run and quick enough to drop in coverage and play in space. The Big Ten is loaded with some promising linebackers who fill the bill. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Top 10 offensive linemen | Top 10 defensive linemen | Full unit rankings ] Here is my ranking of the league’s top 10 linebackers. 1. Anthony Walker, Northwestern, Jr. He announced his arrival as a superstar last year when he led the

Dec 5, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Malik McDowell (4) signals possession during the first quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 defensive linemen

Ask any coach, and he’ll tell you the most difficult position to recruit is defensive line. It’s a challenge to find players who are big AND quick. That’s why good d-linemen are so cherished. And, Michigan State has a good one in Malik McDowell, who leads my list of top 10 Big Ten defensive linemen. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Top 10 offensive linemen | Full unit rankings ] Here’s my complete top 10 list. 1. Malik McDowell, Michigan State, Jr. He thinks he’s the best d-lineman in the

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 offensive linemen

Football is won in the trenches. Without a good line, an offense has little chance for success—no matter how many five-star running backs are on the roster. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Full unit rankings ] And no one in the Big Ten is better at getting a push than Ohio State’s Pat Elflein. He heads my list of the top 10 offensive linemen in the Big Ten. 1. Pat Elflein, G, Ohio State, Sr. He eschewed a chance to turn pro to be the anchor of a rebuilt

Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns an interception 88 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten West defensive backfield unit rankings

No Big Ten team will have a better DB than Iowa corner Desmond King, who won the Thorpe Award. But instead of turning pro coming off that season of glory, King opted to return to Iowa City. And that’s a big reason why the Hawkeyes top my ranking of Big Ten West defensive backfields. [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West defensive lines | West linebackers | West predictions ] See my full ranking below. 1. Iowa. This could be the top secondary in the Big Ten. Senior corner Desmond King eschewed the NFL

Oct 10, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines cornerback Jourdan Lewis (26) celebrates with teammates after he scores a touchdown on an interception in the second quarter against the Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten East defensive backs unit rankings

There is a lot to like about Michigan in 2016, as Jim Harbaugh begins his second season in Ann Arbor in pursuit of the program’s first Big Ten title since 2004. Among the many areas of strength is the secondary, led by Jourdan Lewis—one of the best corners in America. [ MORE: East offensive lines | East receiving corps | East backfields | East defensive lines | East linebackers | East predictions ] Here is my ranking of the Big Ten East defensive backfields. 1. Michigan. Senior Jourdan Lewis lacks size but is one of the nation’s best corners and

Oct 31, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) leaps over Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back V'Angelo Bentley (2) during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 running backs

Yes, Ohio State’s all-world talent Ezekiel Elliott is gone, in addition to Illinois’ Josh Ferguson, Iowa’s Jordan Canzeri and Maryland’s Brandon Ross. But the Big Ten is loaded with plenty of options/depth at running back entering the 2016 season. The impressive group is led by Penn State wunderkind Saquon Barkley. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Full unit rankings ] Here is my ranking of the Big Ten’s top 10 running backs for 2016. 1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State, So. The future seems limitless for a guy who set the Penn State freshman rushing record

Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst (right) shakes ahnds with linebacker Vince Biegel (47) during the fourth quarter against the USC Trojans in the 2015 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten West linebacker unit rankings

Talented, quick, deep … those are just three words that aptly describe the linebacking corps at Wisconsin, which tops my ranking of Big Ten West linebackers. But the LBs will have to adjust to a new coordinator. What impact will that have? [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West defensive lines | West predictions ] Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten West linebacker units. 1. Wisconsin. Senior Vince Biegel and sophomore T.J. Edwards are the bellwethers of this strong unit. Biegel tallied 14 TFLs in 2015 and is the leader of the defense

Nov 14, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Riley Bullough (30) runs off the field during the 2nd half of a game against the Maryland Terrapins  at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten East linebacker unit rankings

Linebackers need to be a special breed of crazy and talent, willing to take on big offensive linemen and fullbacks with power while also having the speed to chase down running backs. And no school in the East has a better collection of LBs than Michigan State. [ MORE: East OL | East receiving corps | East backfields | East DL | East predictions ] Here’s my ranking of Big Ten East linebacking units. 1. Michigan State. Lots of talent in East Lansing. Senior Riley Bullough will be one of the Big Ten’s best. He is Mr. Spartan, a true

Nov 14, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Jehu Chesson (86) catches a touchdown pass on the last play of the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime against Indiana Hoosiers safety Tony Fields (19) at Memorial Stadium. Michigan defeats Indiana in double overtime 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten’s top 10 wide receivers

Much debate rages about who will be the quarterback at Michigan. Whoever wins the job will be comforted by the fact he’ll throw to two of the Big Ten’s top targets in Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh. In fact, the former heads my ranking of 2016 Big Ten wide receivers. [ MORE: East OL | West OL | East pass-catchers | West pass-catchers | East backfields | West backfields | East DL | West DL ] Check out my top 10 below. 1. Jehu Chesson, Michigan, Sr. Wolverine insiders say the 6-3, 200-pound Chesson was the most improved player on