Phillippi's preseason All-Big Ten defense

Ciante Evans (Stewart Photography)

Big Red Report's Kyle Phillippi breaks down his preseason All-Big Ten first team defense.

Defensive Line: Tyler Scott, Northwestern
Ohio State's John Simon stole the headlines last year as the conference's top pass rusher, but sitting atop the charts with him was Scott with 9.0 sacks. He was an honorable mention in the conference but will surely be in the running for All-Big Ten first team as a senior.

Defensive Line: Deion Barnes, Penn State
Lost among the future-NFL draft picks on last year's defense, Barnes led the Nittany Lions with 6.0 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss. The junior is poised for an even better season now that he'll be the cornerstone of their defense.

Defensive Line: Tyler Dippel, Wisconsin
The redshirt senior is a year removed from producing a team-high 5.0 sacks while producing 5.5 tackles for loss. He may fly under the radar, but he's well on his way to becoming a household name.

Linebacker: Chris Borland, Wisconsin
A reigning All-Big Ten selection, Borland had his name on numerous postseason awards list, including the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronco Nagurski Trophy. While he continues to be stopper at linebacker with back-to-back seasons of 100 or more tackles, his greatest strength is jarring the bar loose. In his career, Borland has forced a whopping 13 fumbles.

Linebacker: Max Bullogh, Michigan State
In what will be his third season starting in the middle in East Lansing, Bullogh has developed into one of the premier linebackers in the country. He earned All-Big Ten honors as a junior and was a semifinalist for numerous postseason awards. In the conference, he finished in the top ten with 111 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss.

Linebacker: Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
A quick glance at the numbers and it's pretty obvious as to why Shazier is an All-Big Ten lock. Not only did he finish with 115 tackles and nearly 10 tackles per game, but the junior led the conference with 17.0 tackles for loss. The anchor on the Buckeyes' defense even finished in the top ten with 5.0 sacks.

Linebacker: James Morris, Iowa
An All-Big Ten Honorable Mention as a junior, Morris compiled 113 total tackles and ranked third in the conference with 9.4 tackles per game. Between his instincts and toughness, Morris will once again be the leader of the Hawkeyes' defense as he continues to climb up the school's all-time tackles leaderboard.

Defensive Back: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
As a junior, Dennard cracked the All-Big Ten first team after a stellar season in which he racked up 52 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended. As long as he can come back in similar form after his offseason sports hernia surgery, there's no reason Dennard won't be a first-team selection in his final year.

Defensive Back: Ciante Evans, Nebraska
The senior cornerback might not get as much credit as he desrves playing in the NICKEL, but head coach Bo Pelini believes he is the best cornerback in the Big Ten. The junior earned Nebraksa defensive MVP honors last season.

Defensive Back: Christian Bryant, Ohio State
The safety proved to be a reliable tackler for the Buckeyes, racking up 70 tackles while defending 12 passes. An All-Big Ten second team pick as a junior, Bryant will have a great opportunity of landing himself on the first team as a senior.

Defensive Back: Ricardo Allen, Purdue
Set to start his fourth year at corner, Allen is coming a second-team All-Conference season in which he tallied 45 tackles with four tackles for loss, five defended passes and one sack. This year, though, Allen will look to replicate his sophomore season where he had 81 tackles and three picks.

Kicker: Jeff Budzien, Northwestern
The Big Ten Co-Kicker of the Year along with Nebraska's Brett Maher, Budzien went six of seven from 40 or more yards and 19-for-20 overall. He set the school-record for field goal percentage with a 95.0 mark en route to being named a first-team All-Conference selection.

Punter: Mike Sadler, Michigan State
A first-team honoree as a sophomore, Sadler averaged 43.3 yards per punt in 79 attempts. In his career, he has nailed 40% of his kicks inside the 20-yard line.

*** Story posted by BRR publisher Josh Harvey ***

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