Big Ten rankings: No. 2, Greg Jones

The Big Ten preseason player rankings, based on past performance and 2010 potential, continue with ...

No. 2: Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State, Sr., 6-1, 235

2009 numbers: Led the Big Ten and ranked third nationally in tackles with 154 (11.8 tpg); finished fifth in the Big Ten and tied for 30th nationally in sacks (9); ranked 10th in the league in tackles for loss (14); recorded double figures in tackles in nine of 13 games.

Most recent ranking: No. 5 in the 2009 postseason player rankings.

Making the case for Jones: If you love college football, you love players like Jones. He's a tackling machine (359 career tackles) who can blitz (36.5 career tackles for loss), sack the quarterback and find the football on virtually every play. He shows up in every game and anchors a Michigan State defense that has had its ups and downs during the past few seasons. He's always striving to get better, like adding 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason to his already chiseled frame. And if he's got an ego, I haven't seen it. Jones earned consensus first-team All-America honors in 2009 and became one of the rare players to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors both before and after the season (he shared the postseason award with Penn State's Jared Odrick). His name will be present on any reputable (and applicable) preseason watch list, including those for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Butkus Award. Jones looked noticeably bigger this spring but didn't lose any speed. I'd still like to see him become a bigger factor in pass coverage and make more game-changing plays. After watching Jones for three seasons, I have little doubt he'll meet those demands in 2010.

The rundown

  • No. 25: Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt

  • No. 24: Illinois RB Mikel LeShoure

  • No. 23: Iowa DT Karl Klug

  • No. 22: Northwestern LB Quentin Davie

  • No. 21: Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins

  • No. 20: Ohio State LB Brian Rolle

  • No. 19: Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien

  • No. 18: Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi

  • No. 17: Ohio State WR DeVier Posey

  • No. 16: Wisconsin LB Chris Borland

  • No. 15: Wisconsin G/C John Moffitt

  • No. 14: Indiana WR Tandon Doss

  • No. 13: Purdue WR Keith Smith

  • No. 12: Ohio State LB Ross Homan

  • No. 11: Wisconsin LT Gabe Carimi

  • No. 10: Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

  • No. 9: Ohio State G Justin Boren

  • No. 8: Penn State G/C Stefen Wisniewski

  • No. 7: Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor

  • No. 6: Penn State RB Evan Royster

  • No. 5: Iowa S Tyler Sash

  • No. 4: Wisconsin RB John Clay

  • No. 3: Ohio State DL Cameron Heyward