Big Ten rankings: No. 20, Denicos Allen

Our preseason countdown of the top 25 players in the Big Ten rolls on, as we continue to weigh past performance and 2012 potential to determine the cream of this year's crop.

Up next: Adam Sandler's favorite Big Ten linebacker:

No. 20: Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State, Jr., 5-11, 225 pounds

2011 postseason rank: Not ranked

2011 numbers: Collected 83 tackles, including 18.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and one fumble recovery. Named second-team All-Big Ten by the media.

Why he's here: It's easy for some players to get lost in the sea of stars on Michigan State's defense. But opposing offenses better not ever forget where Allen is.

That's because the strongside linebacker is probably coming after their quarterback. And odds are, he's going to make their life unpleasant. Allen's 11 sacks in 2011 are the most of any returning Big Ten player, and he was devastating last year on blitzes. His signature play came in the win over Ohio State, when he catapulted running back Jordan Hall before clobbering quarterback Joe Bauserman, earning the nickname, "The Waterboy."

Visualize and attack. Few linebackers in the Big Ten do that better than Allen.

The countdown

No. 25: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska

No. 24: MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota

No. 23: Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue

No. 22: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

No. 21: Jared Abbrederis, WR/KR, Wisconsin