Big Ten rankings: No. 5, Lavonte David

It's time to get serious as the Big Ten preseason player rankings, based on past performance and potential impact for the 2011 season, have entered the top 5.

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No. 5: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska, Sr., 6-1, 225

2010 numbers: Led the Big 12 and set a team record with 152 tackles (84); finished 11th nationally in tackles per game (10.9); finished second on the team in tackles for loss (15), sacks (6) and pass breakups (10); finished seventh in the Big 12 in tackles for loss and ninth in sacks; ranked fourth on the team with seven quarterback hurries

Why he's here: The numbers certainly jump out, but David's 2010 performance is even more impressive when you consider all the responsibility he shouldered in his first FBS season. The junior college transfer at times was Nebraska's lone linebacker on the field, and he often made the defensive play calls. He displayed tremendous speed and tackling ability, and a relentless knack for being around the football. A unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection, David earned second-team AP All-America honors and was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by the league's coaches. He was named MVP of the Blackshirts, a unit that featured a first-round draft pick in cornerback Prince Amukamara, three total draft picks and other standouts like tackle Jared Crick. David addressed size concerns during the offseason by adding 10-15 pounds and should be more sturdier for the Big Ten. Nebraska has more help at linebacker as Will Compton and Sean Fisher are healthy, but David will continue to lead the way this fall.


  • No. 25: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin

  • No. 24: Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State

  • No. 23: Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa

  • No. 22: Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa

  • No. 21: Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois

  • No. 20: John Simon, DL, Ohio State

  • No. 19: Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue

  • No. 18: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin

  • No. 17: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

  • No. 16: Derek Moye, WR, Penn State

  • No. 15: Jeremy Ebert, WR, Northwestern

  • No. 14: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

  • No. 13: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

  • No. 12: David Molk, C, Michigan

  • No .11: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin

  • No. 10: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

  • No. 9: Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State

  • No. 8: Riley Reiff, LT, Iowa

  • No. 7: James White, RB, Wisconsin

  • No. 6: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State