The Big Ten postseason player rankings roll on with No. 23. These rankings are based on 2011 on-field performance only, not future potential or NFL projections.
Boiler up for this one ...
No. 23: Kawann Short, DT, Jr. 6-3, 310
Preseason rank: Not ranked
2011 numbers: Record 54 tackles, including 17 for loss and 6.5 sacks. Added one fumble recovery, a forced fumble and two blocked kicks.
Why he's here: In many ways, it was the year of the defensive tackle in the Big Ten. Short was among an elite group of interior forces in the league and was Purdue's most physically dominant player. He finished sixth in the conference in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss even though the Boilermakers lacked a fierce pass rush on the edge for most of the season, allowing teams to double- team Short. His performance against Ohio State, which included three sacks, earned him a national defensive player of the week award, and he also proved to be a menace on the field goal-block teams.
Purdue head coach Danny Hope said this week that Short is at 330 pounds and in the best shape of his career. Short decided to come back for his senior season rather than shoot for the NFL draft, and with a little more consistency and conditioning, he could become an All-America type player in 2012.
No. 24: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
No. 25: Fitz Toussaint, RB, Michigan