Big Ten rankings: No. 14, Kain Colter

We're counting down our rankings of the Top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2013 season. This list is based on past performance and potential for the upcoming season only. We do not consider NFL potential for purposes of these rankings.

Coming up next is the ultimate Swiss Army knife of a quarterback ...

No. 14: Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern, senior

2012 postseason ranking: No. 23

2012 numbers: Completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 872 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Carried 170 times for 894 yards and 12 touchdowns. Caught 16 passes for 169 yards.

Why he's here: Colter needs to start returning kicks.

OK, so it would be insane for Pat Fitzgerald to put his starting quarterback on the kickoff or punt return teams, but that's pretty much the last area where Colter could make an impact with the ball in his hands. He's done it everywhere else. There's no one in college football quite like Colter, and as I wrote on Tuesday, his lasting legacy for Northwestern might well be his utter unselfishness in giving up snaps at quarterback.

Colter could still improve as a passer and just might as he gets farther and farther away from his shoulder injury. He's already part of the most dangerous and versatile 1-2 backfield punch in the Big Ten with tailback Venric Mark. There's almost nothing that duo could do that would surprise us anymore. Well, unless Colter suddenly starts returning kicks.

The countdown

No. 25: Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois

No. 24: Mark Weisman, RB, Iowa

No. 23: James White, RB, Wisconsin

No. 22: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

No. 21: John Urschel, G, Penn State

No. 20: Tyler Scott, DE, Northwestern

No. 19: Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State

No. 18: Deion Barnes, DE, Penn State

No. 17: Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska

No. 16: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin

No. 15: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota