Big Ten postseason player rankings: No. 17

It's no surprise that in the first week of the countdown we’ve already had a few appearances from the Big Ten and Rose Bowl champs. Today, Michigan State has its third player on the top-25 list.

No. 17: Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State

Previous ranking: unranked

Making the case for Allen: As a third-year starter at strongside linebacker, Allen led the Spartans in tackles (98) and tackles for a loss (16.5 for 58 yards). He finished second in sacks (5.5 for 38 yards) and quarterback hurries (10) and was a member of one of the strongest linebacker groups in the country.

The senior helped to anchor a defense that was among the best in the nation all season. The Spartans led the FBS in yards allowed per game (251.9), first downs allowed on run plays (64) and yards per play (4.04).

Though fellow linebacker Kyler Elsworth stole the show at the Rose Bowl, Allen forced a fumble and recorded seven tackles. It was a solid finish to Allen's career. He came in as a three-star linebacker and finished his career with 271 tackles. His 44.5 career tackles for a loss rank third in MSU history and his 19.5 sacks rank sixth all-time in Michigan State history.

The countdown

  • No. 25: Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase

  • No. 24: Indiana WR Cody Latimer

  • No. 23: Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford

  • No. 22: Iowa LT Brandon Scherff

  • No. 21: Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon

  • No. 20: Michigan State QB Connor Cook

  • No. 19: Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis

  • No. 18: Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman