Big Ten rankings: No. 20, Kevin Zeitler

The Big Ten top 25 player rankings roll forward on this Valentine's Day as we reach No. 20. We remind you once again that these postseason rankings are based on 2011 performance only and not any other factors like future potential.

Now let's spotlight a guy whom we didn't expect to see on this list in the preseason ...

No. 20: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin, Sr., 6-4, 315

Preseason rankings: Not ranked

2011 numbers: Started at right guard in all 14 games for the Badgers. He was part of an offensive line that paved the way for the nation's No. 11 rushing offense, as Wisconsin averaged 235.6 yards per game on the ground.

Why he's here: Wisconsin's All-America tradition on the offensive line continued in 2011, thanks in part to the terrific improvement that Zeitler made from the previous season.

An honorable mention All-Big Ten performer in 2010, Zeitler took his game to the next level as a senior. He provided an excellent escort for Montee Ball, either by locking up a defender on the line of scrimmage or pulling to create space on the left side. Zeitler was named an AFCS first-team All-American and was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection. He should also continue the Badgers' NFL offensive line tradition, as he is expected to be selected in the April draft. Offensive guards are often anonymous and don't make a lot of appearances on lists such as these. But Zeitler's 2011 season deserves special recognition.


No. 21: Marcus Coker, RB, Iowa

No. 22: Silas Redd, RB, Penn State

No. 23: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

No. 24: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

No. 25: Fitz Toussaint, RB, Michigan