Midseason All-Big Ten Defense 2013
Midseason All-Big Ten: Defense
As the Big Ten is not really known for its offensive threat teams, it is known for having some of the best defensive teams in the nation -- including the top overall defense in the country in terms of yards allowed per game. Six Big Ten teams have allowed less than 350 yards per game this season -- putting all six in the top-30 for total defense in the nation. Eight teams have allowed less than 25 points per game this season while just two teams have allowed over 30 points per game.
It's safe to say this conference is known for having tough defensive play. The Michigan State Spartans are a poor offensive team -- or at least have been and are improving on offense in recent weeks -- but their defense makes them a serious contender in the Legends Division. Allowing the least amount of yards per game in the nation, there are many players on this squad that could be in the NFL soon enough stopping your favorite teams from scoring soon enough on Sundays.
The Wisconsin Badgers are a close second, allowing the least amount of points per game as a defense and the second-least amount of yards in the conference. This is an experienced squad that could also be a serious contender to take down the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Leaders Division.
Yes, Big Ten teams are great on defense, but it's the players that make up those defenses that deserve some serious respect and attention. I have compiled the midseason All-Big Ten defense for the 2013 season.
Take a look at the players who have excelled through the halfway point in the Big Ten season thus far. Here is your Rant Sports All-Big Ten defensive team for 2013.
DE: Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
How many guys can say they have taken over for one of the best defensive ends in the conference this season, William Gholston, and excelled? Not many. Calhoun has three defensive touchdowns on the season as a defensive lineman to go along with 11 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
DE: Theiran Cockran, Minnesota
His stat line isn't overly impressive, but Cockran is as sure-handed as they come. The Minnesota defensive end has recorded 15 tackles, three sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss on the season to go along with a forced fumble while being part of one of the best defensive lines out there.
DT: Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
As one of the top defensive tackle prospects heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, Hageman had a lot of pressure on his shoulders heading into the 2013 season. He has delivered, recording 23 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Oh yeah, don't forget about his two blocked field goals through seven weeks.
DT: DaQuan Jones, Penn State
When you look and Jones' stats, you think he might be a linebacker. Then you find out he's a defensive tackle and you probably can't believe your eyes. As a defensive tackle, the big man has 39 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. He is second on the team in tackles.
OLB: Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Playing in only three games and making this list is quite an accomplishment. Shazier has recorded 24 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack in three games this season and he is one of the best linebackers in the conference.
OLB: Denicos Allen, Michigan State
Denicos Allen is an enforcer and people still think about the play where he leaped over an Ohio State defender to record an amazing sack two years ago when his name is brought up. He is still as talented and could be a solid NFL prospect. He has recorded 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks on the year.
ILB: Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Borland is the epitome of a top linebacker in the Big Ten. The uber-talented, hard-working inside linebacker has 56 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. This guy is a stud.
CB: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Darqueze Dennard is one of those shutdown corners that quarterbacks hate going up against. The senrior corner has 24 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions on the season.
CB: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
Jean-Baptiste has been one of the top cornerbacks in the conference all season long. The talented corner has 19 tackles, four interceptions and a touchdown. Don't forget his 134 interception return yards on the season.
FS: Tim Bennett, Indiana
Bennett might not play on a great defense, but the free safety has been the bright spot on an otherwise dull defense in 2013. He has 45 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interceptions. No free safety should have that many tackles, however.
SS: Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
Campbell is a tough guy to throw the ball even near. Don't throw it in his vicinity or he will pick it off. The strong safety has 37 tackles, one sack and four interceptions on the year.