Were back for another dose of our Top 25 Players in the Big Ten! We last left you with No. 22 and that was Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde and today we switch back to the defensive side of the ball with one of the most athletic linebackers in the B1G.
A fellow linebacker at times overshadows him on his team, but this man has made a name for himself over the last few years in the Big Ten.
Before we get into it, let us remind you of what criteria we used to make our Top 25 list. We used things like importance to your team, overall skill at your position, records set, past performance, conference honors (coaches, media, our list too), and the good old-fashioned eye test.
With that, let’s look at one of the best linebackers in the B1G…
No. 21: Denicos Allen (Linebacker, Michigan State):
2012 Stats/Honors: 13 Games played, 41 Solo tackles, 38 Assisted tackles, 10 Tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble and 3 defensive break ups. Honorable mention All-B1G for Coaches and Media.
What makes him worthy: Allen’s speed and athleticism at the linebacker position make him a scary matchup for opposing coaches. Denicos has used that speed to rack up 14 total sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss in his last two seasons.
He started every game in 2012 at Sam linebacker while ranking third on the team in tackles (79) and 16th in the Big Ten with 10 tackles for loss as well as ranking tied for 11th in B1G conference games with 7.5 tackles for loss.
Though Allen had a great year, it was not the year that everyone expected as he was named the Big Ten preseason Defensive MVP by Sports Illustrated and was featured on preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award, the Butkus Award and the Lombardi Award. Denicos slumped a bit in his second year as a full-time starter, but Allen’s speed should allow for him to get back to the double-digit sack number that he had in 2011.
Allen is listed at 5’11” and weighing 215 lbs. and with former linebacker Chris Norman graduating, Denicos is more important than ever for the Spartans. I would look for him to have an impact similar to his sophomore season, and B1G quarterbacks should be on the lookout for number 28 in green and white.
Video Proof: Allen uses his athletic ability to go “waterboy” on Joe Bauserman…
The Top 25 List: