Big Ten rankings: No. 10, Taylor Lewan

It's Top Ten time.

Our preseason countdown of the top players in the Big Ten has reached some rarefied air. These are the best of the best (based, as always, on last year's production and 2012 potential).

This next guy is one of the oddest partners on a bicycle built for two ...

No. 10: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan, junior, 6-foot-8, 309 pounds

2011 postseason rank: Not ranked

2011 numbers: Started at left tackle in all 13 games for the 11-2 Wolverines. Named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches.

Why he's here: Lewan's transition from goofy class clown to mature leader this offseason has been well-documented. The guy still likes to have fun, as evidenced by his tooling around Ann Arbor on a tandem bicycle, but now he's all business on the football field.

And business is good. He is already one of the premier left tackles in the Big Ten, if not the country. He's a terrific athlete for his size and does an outstanding job in particular in pass blocking. Denard Robinson doesn't often need a lot of room to make something happen, but Lewan gives him plenty of space.

Lewan has been projected as a potential early first-round pick next April if he decides to come out early. But for now, he's focused on being one of the best players in the Big Ten.

The countdown

No. 25: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska

No. 24: MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota

No. 23: Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue

No. 22: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

No. 21: Jared Abbrederis, WR/KR, Wisconsin

No. 20: Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State

No. 19: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

No. 18: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

No. 17: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

No. 16: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois

No. 15: Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan

No. 14: Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State

No. 13: James Vandenberg, QB, Iowa

No. 12: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin

No. 11: Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State