Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
In this blogger's humble opinion, defensive end was the Big Ten's strongest position this season. The people who run the Ted Hendricks Award seem to agree.
Penn State's Aaron Maybin and Indiana's Jammie Kirlew are among the six finalists for the Hendricks Award, which will be presented to the nation's top defensive end on Dec. 10.
Maybin led the Big Ten and tied for fourth nationally in sacks (12). The dynamic sophomore who didn't even begin the season as a starter ranks seventh nationally in tackles for loss (19).
Kirlew, a junior, led the Big Ten and ties for fifth nationally in tackles for loss (19.5). He ranks second in the league behind Maybin in sacks (10.5), recording a sack in six of his final eight games.
Both Maybin and Kirlew earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media.
The Big Ten was the only conference with multiple players on the list of the Hendricks Award finalists, which also includes Florida State's Everette Brown, TCU's Jerry Hughes, Texas' Brian Orakpo and Oregon's Nick Reed.
For a league that takes a ton of criticism nationally, the Big Ten continues to represent well for the national awards.