Were back for a double-dose of our Top 25 Players in the Big Ten! We last left you with No. 5 and that was Michigan State’s Max Bullough earlier today. Again, we have another Spartan, but this time we are looking at arguably the best defensive back in the B1G.
Our No. 4 player is another three-year letterwinner and enters his third season as a starting cornerback for Michigan State. He has been a playmaker and a shutdown corner for the Spartans back-to-back Top 10 defense. Not many defensive backs in the NCAA, let alone the B1G can take over a game like this man has been known to do.
Darqueze Dennard will continue to be ball hawk for the Spartan defense in 2013, and surely be one of the best, if not the best defensive back in the B1G.
No. 4: Darqueze Dennard (Cornerback, Michigan State):
2012 Stats/Honors: 13 Games played, 34 Solo tackles, 18 Assisted tackles, 3.5 Tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, and 7 defensive break ups. First-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and second-team pick by the media. A First-team All-Big Ten pick by ESPN, collegefootballnews.com and Phil Steele.
What makes him worthy: Like I mentioned earlier, Darqueze Dennard has the ability to take over a game. In the 2011 bowl game, Dennard tied a Spartan-bowl record with two interceptions in the win over No. 18 Georgia; picked off Aaron Murray midway through the third quarter, leading to MSU’s first TD of the game, then returned an interception 38 yards for a score. In 2012, he tied his career high with 2 interceptions against Nebraska, one that set up MSU’s third TD of the game and one he returned for a TD that was brought back. If you have read my articles before, you know I am a big fan of Dennard and if you were not aware of him before, you will know him after the 2013 season.
He started all 13 games in 2012 at cornerback, was tied for the team lead with three interceptions, also tied for the team lead with 10 passes defended, which ranked tied for 19th in the Big Ten. Dennard was also tied for second on the team with seven pass break-ups and ranked sixth on the team with a career-high 52 tackles, including 3.5 for losses.
Dennard has been a consistent presence for the Spartans top 10 defense; playing 30 games, including 26 starts. Darqueze is listed at 5’11” and weighing 188 lbs. and uses his athletic ability and instincts to lock-down opposing wide outs. Not only can he lock-down opposing wide outs, as his tape shows; Dennard has the ability to lay the lumber and even force fumbles.
Not many players in the B1G find themselves around the ball more than Dennard who has 6 career interceptions and 10 pass break-ups. Many teams have overlooked Darqueze over the last few years and he always finds a way to make them pay. If he is not already, Darqueze Dennard will become a household name in 2013, and I do not think that many opposing coaches will willingly throw his way.
Video Proof: Again, I would like to thank M. Pietrangelo for all of the Michigan State highlight videos we will be using for this list. Follow him on twitter @Pietrang5
Oh and this is a pretty impressive highlight film…
The Top 25 List: