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Top 5 Big Ten Defensive Linemen For 2013

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Top 5 Big Ten Defensive Linemen for 2013

Marcus Rush
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten football conference has always been known for putting dominant defenses out on the field, usually having teams ranked in the top defenses nationally.

It is a conference known for being tough and physical with teams, and a lot of that tenacious play has come up front with the defensive line. There have been great defensive linemen in Big Ten country year after year, with many becoming All-Americans and first round draft picks.

Going into the 2013 season for the Big Ten, the defensive lines of the conference bring a group mixed with experienced veterans as well as young talent that are ready to break onto the scene in college football.

A lot of new names will make their way out in the conference this year, as all of the players who made first or second team all Big-Ten from last season have moved on to the NFL.

Players who were dominant throughout their college years like Jonathan Hankins and John Simon of Ohio State, Jordan Hill of Penn State, and Kawann Short of Purdue established themselves as forces to be reckoned with in the Big Ten for the last four seasons.

But as with every year in college football, there comes a time when new players are asked to step up. The defensive lines look primed to do it again in 2013, as the conference returns some of the best defenses in all of college football.

While there are only five players on this list, there are many more in the conference who are capable of having All-Big ten type seasons this year.

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5. Bruce Gaston, Purdue Boilermakers

Bruce Gaston
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Gaston didn’t have as good of a season as he did in 2011 where he had 30 tackles and three sacks, but 2012 was still a good year for him, as he was able to make 28 tackles as well as recover two fumbles. He has always played in the shadow of Kawaan Short, but now he is the guy on the inside of the Boilermaker line.

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4. Beau Allen, Wisconsin Badgers

Beau Allen
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Beau Allen has been one of the toughest players in the Big Ten for the past three seasons. He has played in every game of his career but didn’t get the starting job until last season. He had 37 tackles on the year to go along with 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season.

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3. Ra'Shede Hagemen, Minnesota Gophers

Ra'Shede Hagemen
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Hageman started in all 13 games for the Gophers last season. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection after recording 35 tackles to go along with six sacks on the year. At 6’6" and 311 pounds, Hageman is a force coming off the ball and should be the leader of the Gophers’ defensive line.

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2. Tyler Scott, Northwestern Wildcats

Tyler Scott
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Scott started every game for the Northwestern Wildcats last season as a redshirt junior. He had a breakout season, posting 42 tackles to go along with 12.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks on the season, leading him to be an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. Going into his senior season, Scott will be one of the top defenders in the conference.

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1. Marcus Rush, Michigan State Spartans

Marcus Rush
Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

Rush has been one of the most consistent players in the Big Ten for the last two seasons. He has started every game of his career as a Spartan and should end up being a four-year starter when it’s all said and done. He had 38 tackles, seven and a half tackles for loss and two sacks in 2012, which earned him an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection.