Ranking the Big Ten: Sean Lee, No. 7

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ranking the Big Ten's top 30 players ...

No. 7

Sean Lee, LB, Penn State, Sr., 6-2, 236

Why he's here -- Much like Terrelle Pryor, Lee's inclusion in the top 10 is sure to spark some debate. After all, he hasn't played a meaningful snap since the 2007 Alamo Bowl, in which he earned Defensive Player of the Game honors, and missed all of last season with a torn ACL sustained during spring practice.

But Lee's accomplishments in 2006 and 2007 can't be denied in sizing up the league's best players. Neither can the skills he should bring to the Nittany Lions' defense this fall.

In 2007, he arguably had just as strong a season as teammate Dan Connor, who took home the Chuck Bednarik Award that year. Lee recorded 138 tackles (seven fewer than Connor), an interception, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He recorded 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception in 2006.

Lee had started 26 consecutive games before the injury last April, which knocks him down a few spots but not out of the top 10. He's an extremely smart player who provided tremendous leadership last season and was a shoo-in to be a co-captain in 2009. If Lee comes back at or near the level he was before the injury, he should earn All-Big Ten accolades and rank as one of the league's top five players.

The Rundown