Big Ten rankings: No. 15, John Simon

The Top 25 postseason player countdown has reached the final 15 names. Some tough choices here as we inch toward No. 1. As a reminder, this list is based on 2011 performance and impact on a given team, and not any other factors like NFL potential.

It's time to head to Buckeye Country for ...

No. 15: John Simon, DL, Ohio State, 6-foot-2, 270, junior

Preseason rank: No. 20

2011 stats: Started all 13 games along the defensive line. He led the team in both tackles for loss (16) and sacks (7), ranking seventh and fifth in the league, respectively. He also had a fumble recovery, three pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.

Why he's here: Ohio State's defense didn't deliver its typical dominance in 2011, but Simon did his part for a young defensive line. He played both end and tackle and at times dominated play, recording a combined nine tackles for loss, including five sacks, during Ohio State's three-game win streak against Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Simon recorded multiple tackles for loss in four games.

In a league loaded with outstanding defensive linemen, Simon earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and second-team honors from the media. He also earned third-team AP All-America honors at defensive tackle. Simon triggered Ohio State's top defensive performance against Illinois with nine tackles, four for loss, and earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. He'll lead the Buckeyes in 2012 as a leading candidate for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.


No. 16: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

No. 17: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

No. 18: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois

No. 19: Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State

No. 20: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

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