Big Ten rankings: No. 21, Carlos Hyde

It's a new week, and the postseason player countdown marches on, inching toward the top 20. As a reminder, these rankings are based solely on performance during the 2012 season. The next man up spent a lot of time in the end zone, particularly during Big Ten play, and he always made sure to celebrate with his offensive linemen.

Dr. Jekyll has nothing on this guy ...

No. 21: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State, junior, 6-foot, 232 pounds

Preseason rank: Not ranked

2012 numbers: 185 carries for 970 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns; eight receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown in 10 games

Why he's here: The Big Ten had no shortage of strong running backs in 2012, and five will appear on our rundown. But other than Doak Walker Award winner Montee Ball, no back made opponents pay more in conference play than Hyde, who recorded 14 of his 16 rushing touchdowns against Big Ten foes. First-year coach Urban Meyer might be known for the spread offense, but he wants his team to have a power-run element, and Hyde, with the help of a much-improved offensive line, provided it in a big way.

Hyde's size and strength proved extremely valuable in the red zone, where Ohio State scored 30 rushing touchdowns in 2012. He also provided a nice complement to speedy and shifty quarterback Braxton Miller. After a foot injury shelved projected starter Jordan Hall, Hyde stepped into the top spot, only to suffer a sprained knee that sidelined him for two games. But he returned for the Big Ten opener and secured a 1-point win at Michigan State with a 5-yard run on third-and-4.

Hyde went on to shine in conference play, eclipsing 130 rush yards and recording multiple rushing touchdowns in four of his final seven games. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media, and will be back for the Buckeyes in 2013.

The countdown

No. 25: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

No. 24: Michael Carter, CB, Minnesota

No. 23: Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern

No. 22: Spencer Long, G, Nebraska