Our Big Ten top-25 player countdown has reached the elite eight. Remember that these rankings are based on performance during the 2011 season and a player's impact on his team, and not on factors such as NFL potential.
At eight is an all-time Iowa great ...
No. 8: Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa, Sr., 6-4, 215
Preseason rank: No. 23
2011 numbers: Caught 82 passes for 1,315 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. Also carried six times for 58 yards.
Why he's here: McNutt was a very good receiver who achieved greatness as a senior. He led the Big Ten and finished 10th in the nation in receiving yards, while only five players in the country had more than his 12 receiving touchdowns. Though he was inexplicably snubbed as a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, he won the Big Ten's inaugural Richter-Howard trophy as the league's top wide receiver.
He finished his Hawkeyes career as the program's single-season and all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdowns, which isn't bad for a guy who started his career out as a quarterback. McNutt had eight 100-yard games in 2011 and posted 184 yards and three touchdowns on just six receptions against Indiana. He also came up with some ridiculous highlight grabs, like his reaching-behind, one-handed snare against Michigan State or his double-clutch touchdown catch against Purdue.
McNutt's season ended with a pair of off games against Nebraska and Oklahoma, the latter of which almost saw him crushed by a falling skycam. But he did enough in 2011 to be considered the league's best receiver and one of the Big Ten's top overall performers.
No. 11: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
No. 13: Riley Reiff, LT, Iowa
No. 15: John Simon, DL, Ohio State
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. 22: Silas Redd, RB, Penn State
No. 23: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
No. 24: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
No. 25: Fitz Toussaint, RB, Michigan