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Top 5 Big Ten Cornerbacks for 2013

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Top 5 Big Ten Cornerbacks For 2013

Bradley Roby
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has always been a conference with a major focus on defense. There have been great defenses year after year in the Big Ten for decades, all of them playing with tenacity and a competitive attitude.

When talking about defense, one of the most important positions in today’s game of football has become the cornerback position. No matter what level, cornerbacks are becoming a premium to football coaches due to the explosion of pass-happy offenses.

Teams need good corners to compete with the gun-slinging quarterbacks in today’s college offenses; players who are quick and athletic but also physical enough to compete with big receivers and make tackles in the open field.

The Big Ten is at no loss for corners that fit this mold, as the 2013 group returns some of the best corners in the entire country for the 2013 college football season.

There have been some outstanding corners to come through the Big Ten conference over its history, some of whom are considered to be some of the greatest overall defenders of alltime.

The alumni list features players like Troy Vincent, Dave Brown, Ty Law as well as guys like Rod Woodson and Charles Woodson. Charles Woodson still remains the only primary defensive player to bring home the Heisman Trophy during his days as a Michigan Wolverine.

While the 2013 group of Big Ten cornerbacks might not have pedigree of those alumni, they are by no means weak players. There are two All-Big Ten selections returning around the conference as well as a group of guys who have made solid contributions throughout their careers.

There are also many young, talented corners in the conference looking to make a name for themselves in 2013, so the upcoming football season should be a fun one to watch

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5. Nick VanHoose, Northwestern Wildcats

Nick VanHoose
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

VanHoose was a very pleasant surprise to the Northwestern Wildcat defense in 2012. He stepped in as a redshirt freshman and started 10 out of 13 games, only missing the three he didn’t start due to injury. He made the All-Big Ten freshman team and looks to improve his game even more in 2013 and continue Northwestern’s rise in football.

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4. Ricardo Allen, Purdue Boilermakers

Ricardo Allen
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Ricardo Allen has been a key player for the Boilermakers his entire career. He was outstanding as a freshman and was also solid during his sophomore season. The junior season wasn’t as dominant, but he still earned second team All-Big Ten honors. Going into his senior season, he is one of the most experienced players in the Big Ten and should be a leader for Purdue.

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3. Ciante Evans, Nebraska Cornhuskers

Ciante Evans
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Ciante Evans will return as the lead man for the Cornhuskers secondary in 2013 and will have to be a leader for a very young group. Evans had an outstanding 2012 season and was an All-Big Ten first team selection. Starting 12 of 14 games for the Cornhuskers, Evans does his best work out of the nickelback position and is a very versatile defender.

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2. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State Spartans

Darqueze Dennard
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Darqueze Dennard made a splash the minute he stepped on the campus of Michigan State and hasn’t looked back since. He has started for two straight seasons now and has been one of the best defenders in the conference. He was a first team All-Big Ten selection in 2012, and is featured on many preseason watch lists going into 2013. He has NFL scouts very interested in his game.

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1. Bradley Roby, Ohio State Buckeyes

Bradley Roby
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Bradley Roby is phenomenal, and there aren’t many other words to describe his play as a corner for Ohio State. A first-team All-American and All-Big Ten selection in 2012, he was simply fantastic on the Buckeyes' defense last season. He posses great athleticism and ball-hawking skills, and already has five career interceptions in just two full seasons of playing. He is being talked about as a first-round NFL draft selection by every scout in football.