Big Ten rankings: No. 24, Michael Carter

We kicked off the postseason top 25 player rankings on Tuesday, and we'll be running through the list every weekday until we reach No. 1. Remember, these rankings are based on 2012 performance only.

Up next in our rankings is a guy who made great strides on and off the field during his senior season ...

No. 24: Michael Carter, CB, Minnesota, Sr., 5-foot-11, 189 pounds

2012 preseason rank: Not ranked

2012 numbers: Had 49 tackles, with four interceptions, 15 pass break-ups and 19 passes defended.

Why he's here: Carter very nearly got kicked off the Gophers last winter before a visit from his cousin helped turn his attitude around. Minnesota fans are awfully glad he got things straightened out.

Carter finally lived up to his immense potential in his final collegiate season, tying for ninth nationally in passes defended. He had one of the greatest sequences by a cornerback you'll ever see against Purdue, when he knocked away three passes and then returned an interception for a touchdown. He was a big reason why the Gophers' pass defense went from being a sore spot in 2011 to a strong suit in 2012.

Carter just missed out on our All-Big Ten first team at the end of the regular season. But his performance in the bowl game against Texas Tech -- two interceptions and a pass break-up -- convinced us that he was one of the top defensive backs in the Big Ten and the country last season. And that he was good enough to rank as one of the top 25 players in the league.

The countdown

No. 25: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan