Big Ten rankings: No. 8, Jordan Hill

Our postseason Big Ten player rankings, based on 2012 performance only, march on today with the first member of our Elite Eight.

Up next is a guy whose hometown of Steelton, Pa., pretty accurately describes what he brought to the field ...

No. 8: Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State, senior, 6-foot-1, 292 pounds

Preseason rank: Not ranked

2012 numbers: Registered 64 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Also had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Why he's here: Hill had large shoes to fill in trying to take over the leadership and playmaking duties in the middle of the line from 2011 Big Ten defensive player of the year Devon Still.

While he may not have matched Still's monster numbers, Hill carved out his own legacy. Thanks to a motor that was always switched to high, Hill had his best season as a senior while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. In fact, while Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins drew more attention for his pro potential, most Big Ten coaches would tell you there was not a better defensive tackle in the Big Ten in 2012 than Hill.

He saved his finest moment for last. In the season finale against Wisconsin, Hill was a monster while recording 12 tackles and two sacks in the overtime win. That he did so despite sharp pain in his knee spoke to Hill's desire, effort and intensity.

NFL scouts wonder if he's big enough to make an impact at the next level. But there's no doubting the size of Hill's heart or his contributions to Penn State.

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

No. 21: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

No. 20: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

No. 19: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

No. 18: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

No. 17: Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan

No. 16: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

No. 15: Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State

No. 14: Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State

No. 13: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin

No. 12: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

No. 11: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

No. 10: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

No. 9: Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern