Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 29, 2015

What school has earned the reputation over the last 10 years for being ?Linebacker U? when it comes to NFL draft choices? It?s Ohio State.

Yes, Penn State traditionally is thought of as ?Linebacker U.? And the Nittany Lions have seen nine linebackers picked since 2005, second most in the Big Ten. But the Buckeyes pace the Big Ten with 13 linebackers selected in the last 10 drafts. Iowa and Nebraska also have done well with each school having seven linebackers tabbed.

The Big Ten has had 59 linebackers drafted since 2005 with nine first-round selections. The Buckeyes have had the most first-round picks with four: A.J. Hawk in 2005; Vernon Gholston in 2008; Bobby Carpenter in 2006; Ryan Shazier in 2014. Purdue is second with two first-rounders: Anthony Spencer in 2007 and Ryan Kerrigan in 2011.

In this year?s draft, Michigan?s Jake Ryan, Penn State?s Mike Hull and Michigan State?s Taiwan Jones figure to be the first Big Ten linebackers tabbed. Others to watch are Minnesota?s Damien Wilson, Maryland?s Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil and Cole Farrand, Ohio State?s Curtis Grant and Northwestern?s Chi Chi Ariguzo.

Here is a look at the Big Ten linebacker NFL draft leader board from 2005-14.

Ohio State: 13

Penn State: 9

Iowa: 7

Nebraska: 7

Michigan: 5

Illinois: 4

Maryland: 3

Purdue: 3

Wisconsin: 3

Rutgers: 2

Michigan State: 1

Minnesota: 1

Northwestern: 1

Indiana: 0


First-rounders (9)

A.J. Hawk, Ohio State, 5th 2006/Packers

Vernon Gholston, Ohio State 6th 2008/Jets

Shawne Merriman, Maryland 12th 2005/Chargers

Ryan Shazier, Ohio State 15th 2014/Steelers

Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue 16th 2011/Redskins

Chad Greenway, Iowa 17th 2006/Vikings

Bobby Carpenter, Ohio State 18th/2006/Cowboys

Whitney Mercilus, Illinois 26th 2012, Texans

Anthony Spencer, Purdue 26th 2007/Cowboys


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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