Those of us who watch Big Ten football every week know good Brandon Graham is at his craft.
The rest of the country, not to mention the NFL's top talent evaluators, got clued in Saturday afternoon at the Senior Bowl.
Graham, the outstanding defensive end from Michigan, earned MVP honors for the North team in a 31-13 victory against the South all-stars in Mobile, Ala. Graham recorded three tackles for loss, including two sacks, and forced a Zac Robinson fumble.
"I just wanted to go out and show them boys I come hard and I was in the best shape of my life," he told reporters afterward. "I came out and went hard every play."
Graham most likely locked up a spot in the first round of April's draft after a great week in Mobile. He was somewhat overlooked the last two seasons because of Michigan's struggles, particularly on defense, but he shouldn't be punished for the team's shortcomings. No Big Ten defender had more impressive numbers than Graham, who led the nation in tackles for loss and ranked 14th in sacks.
Iowa linebacker A.J. Edds also headlined a strong defensive effort from the North squad with an interception and a fumble recovery that set up a touchdown. Edds had two tackles in the game.
Other Big Ten notables in the game:
Michigan State's Brett Swenson put the North team on the scoreboard with a 43-yard field goal and went 4-for-4 on extra-point attempts.
Michigan's Zoltan Mesko averaged 32.3 yards on three punts, placing one inside the 20-yard line.
Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman and Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick both recorded a tackle.
Purdue defensive tackle Mike Neal had one assisted tackle for loss.
Wisconsin tight end Garrett Graham recorded one catch for 10 yards.