All-Big Ten Picks: Defense

The 2010 season is sure to be filled with lots of defensive stars. Standouts like Greg Jones, Adrian Clayborn and Cameron Heyward will electrify fans throughout the year. Here is a look at the other defensive performers who should be First Team All-Big Ten.

Defensive Line: Adrian Clayborn, Iowa, SR

Adrian Clayborn is a 6-foot-3, 282-pound beast on the defensive line. Clayborn proved that, with a stellar junior season tallying 63 tackles, 11 sacks and one forced fumble. Clayborn earned All-Big Ten honors last year for his efforts. Until offenses figure out how to stop Clayborn, he will most likely have a 2010 just as good or better than his 2009 season.

Defensive Line: Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue, SR

The 2009 season was amazing for Purdue defensive end, Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan compiled 66 tackles, 12 sacks and two forced fumbles. The 6-foot-4 Kerrigan could not be stopped last year. His best game came against an excellent Ohio State line. Kerrigan went off for nine tackles and three sacks. Even if Kerrigan cant reproduce last year's magic, he will still be one of the favorites for All-Big Ten honors.

Defensive Line: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State, SR

Coming into the 2010 season, Cameron Heyward will have some huge expectations of him. He is one of the top defensive line prospects for the 2011 NFL draft as well as a preseason candidate for multiple post season awards. The good news for Heyward is that he is not alone on a solid Buckeye defense. If Heyward can best his 46 tackles and six sacks he will have no problem living up to the lofty expectations.

Defensive Line: Christian Ballard, Iowa, SR

The last member of the projected All-Big Ten team defensive line is Adrian Clayborn's teammate, Christian Ballard. While not usually in put in the same category as others on this list, Ballard has the potential to do just as well or even better than he defensive line counterparts. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Ballard had 50 tackles and five sacks last season. Ballard showed off his true potential against the Gophers when he posted nine tackles and a sack. Listen for Ballard's name at the end of the season for various honors and awards.

Linebacker: Greg Jones, Michigan State, SR

The most obvious pick for the All-Big Ten list is All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Greg Jones. One of the top linebackers in the country, there is nothing that can stop Jones from having a repeat of his last season. In 2009, Jones had 153 tackles and an amazing nine sacks. One of Jones' main attributes is his blazing speed which allows him to catch quick runners as well as cover wide receivers and tight ends. Greg Jones is a do-it-all linebacker who will have little trouble being one of the top linebackers in the country.

Linebacker: Ross Homan, Ohio State, SR

The second linebacker on the list is 6-foot-2, 227-pound, Ross Homan. Homan was one of the leaders of the staunch Buckeye defense in 2009. He led the team with 108 tackles and also had two sacks and an amazing five interceptions. Homan's best game came against the Wisconsin Badgers where he had totals of 15 tackles and two sacks against a very good Wisconsin offense. If Homan can keep his tackle numbers up while adding a few interceptions, he will surely be in the running for All-Big Ten status.

Linebacker: Quentin Davie, Northwestern, SR

Although Quentin Davie may get overshadowed by the likes of Greg Jones and others, Davie is the real deal. Last season he tallied 90 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception. While Davie's numbers were great last year he should be able to improve on them this year and have a monster season. Davie should break onto the scene in incredible fashion in the 2010 season.

Cornerback: Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State, SR

After the 2009 season, Chimdi Chekwa opted to pass on the NFL and return to the Buckeyes for his senior year. Chekwa is as fast as they come. Last year he competed in the Big Ten Championship 4x100 relay. He uses this speed to have excellent shutdown coverage on almost any receiver. Last season, Chekwa had 43 tackles and an interception. He was rewarded with All-Big Ten honorable mention. Chekwa is the early front-runner for the first team award this year.

Cornerback: Devin Smith, Wisconsin, JR

Devin Smith is a corner who is poised to have a breakout year. Last year was a good year for Smith who had 55 tackles, nine pass breakups, one sack and one interception. The all-around game that Smith brings to the table will surely help the Wisconsin secondary. If Smith can keep rolling from the 2009 it is very easy to see him as a first team in the Big Ten selection.

Strong Safety: Tyler Sash, Iowa, JR

Just a junior, safety Tyler Sash is well on his way to greatness. The 6-foot-1 product of Oskaloosa, Iowa had an amazing season last year with the Hawkeyes. Sash had 85 tackles to go with six picks and 203 interception return yards. With lineman like Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard putting pressure on the quarterback, Sash should have plenty of time to come up with even more interceptions. Don't expect anything less than what Sash did last season.

Free Safety: Jermale Hines, Ohio State, SR

Jermale Hines is the fourth Buckeye to make on this list meaning, the Scarlett and Gray will yet again have a formidable defense. Hines is a fast safety who has the speed to cover many parts of the field. He had a very solid 2009 season with 57 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions. With such a good defense in front of him, Hines should have plenty of opportunities to make plays.

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