Big Ten rankings: No. 4, Dan Persa

The 2010 Big Ten postseason player rankings continue with ...

No. 4: Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern, Jr., 6-1, 210

2010 numbers: Completed 222 of 302 pass attempts (73.5 percent) for 2,581 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions; 164 carries for 519 rush yards and nine touchdowns; led the nation in completion percentage and set a Big Ten single-season record; finished ninth nationally in pass efficiency (159.04 rating); named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and second-team All-Big Ten by the media.

Preseason rank: Unranked in the preseason Top 25 players

Why he's here: Persa did it all for Northwestern, complementing record-setting precision passing with lightning quick feet that allowed him to extend plays and move the chains. The junior passed for 200 or more yards in nine of 10 games and topped 300 yards of total offense seven times. He was responsible for more than 75 percent of Northwestern's offensive production through the first 10 games, the second-highest total in the FBS. The co-captain took control as soon as he became a starter and helped an otherwise so-so team reach another bowl game.

The strongest endorsement for Persa came after he ruptured his Achilles' tendon while throwing the game-winning touchdown pass Nov. 13 against Iowa. At the time of the injury he ranked ninth nationally in total offense (310.0 ypg), second in the Big Ten in passing yards (258.1 ypg), tied for third in conference in points responsible for (14.4) and tied for third nationally in fewest interceptions (4). Without Persa, Northwestern dropped its final three games. If he can recapture his 2010 form following the injury, Northwestern could be a serious contender for a division title.

  • No. 5: Illinois DT Corey Liuget

  • No. 6: Wisconsin LT Gabe Carimi

  • No. 7: Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure

  • No. 8: Illinois LB Martez Wilson

  • No. 9: Ohio State WR Dane Sanzenbacher

  • No. 10: Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien

  • No. 11: Michigan State LB Greg Jones

  • No. 12: Ohio State CB Chimdi Chekwa

  • No. 13: Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor

  • No. 14: Wisconsin G John Moffitt

  • No. 15: Michigan C David Molk

  • No. 16: Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward:

  • No. 17: Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi

  • No. 18: Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins

  • No. 19: Indiana WR Tandon Doss

  • No. 21: Penn State G Stefen Wisniewski

  • No. 22: Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

  • No. 23: Wisconsin RB James White

  • No. 24: Ohio State LT Mike Adams

  • No. 25: Indiana QB Ben Chappell