|Left tackle Taylor Lewan, a junior, should consider leaving Ann Arbor and entering his name in the NFL Draft. (US Presswire)|
Why he has the top spot: Hankins had three tackles in Saturday's win over Michigan but more importantly, helped hold the Wolverines to just 108 rushing yards by clogging the line of scrimmage. Hankins forced a crucial fourth-quarter fumble deep inside Michigan territory when he popped the ball out of QB Devin Gardner's hands using his shoulder pad. Ohio State could only partially capitalize on the turnover with a field goal but it didn't matter because the Buckeyes' defense didn't allow the Wolverines past the 50-yard line in the second half. Hankins was named to the first-team All-Big Ten defensive line as voted on by the coaches. He earned a second-team nod from the media.
Season stats: 55 tackles, blocked FG, four tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble.
Player ranking: Hankins is the ninth-rated prospect in the draft class and the second-best defensive tackle, according to CBSSports.com's player rankings.
Up next: The Buckeyes' season is done and Hankins, a junior, will now have to decide if he wants to enter his name in the NFL draft.
Why he has the second spot: Short and the Boilermakers closed the regular season with a three-game winning streak, thus granting Purdue bowl eligibility. The senior had six tackles against Indiana in his final game in West Lafayette -- the second-most he's had all season. The Boilermakers will now play the waiting game to see which bowl will send them an invitation. Short was named first-team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media.
Season stats: 42 tackles, 14 for loss, six sacks, four blocked field goals.
Player ranking: Short is ranked as the 39th-best player in the draft and the seventh-best DT, according to CBSSports.com's player rankings.
Up next: It hasn't been announced but CBSSports.com predicts that the Boilermakers will play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Iowa State on Jan. 1.
Why he has the third spot: Gholston partially salvaged a disappointing season with four tackles and sack in the Spartans' victory over the Gophers on Saturday. Even though he didn't play up to expecations, he earned honorable mention from the coaches and made second-team All-Big Ten according to the media. He has the most difficult decision of all of the top prospects in the conference because his production arguably regressed in what was supposed to be his final season in college football. The Spartans still have a bowl game to play and he'll likely take input from a number of sources to determine whether it's best to return to East Lansing for his senior year.
Season stats: 51 tackles, 10 for loss, 3.5 sacks.
Player ranking: Gholston is rated as the 124th-best prospect and the 17th-best defensive end in the draft class, according to CBSSports.com's player rankings.
Up next: CBSSports.com is predicting that the Spartans will face Oklahoma State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 29 in Arizona.
Why you should watch him: He's the most physically gifted offensive lineman in the Big Ten and has been a pillar of the Wolverines' rushing attack all season. Although the pocket collapsed a number of times in the loss to Ohio State, he was going up against Hankins and likely future NFL player DE John Simon. He earned first-team all-Big Ten from both the coaches and the media.
Season stats: Michigan starting QBs have been sacked just 12 times this year, the fewest of any team in the conference.
Player ranking: Lewan is ranked as the 11th-best prospect and the second-best OL in the draft, according to CBSSports.com's player rankings.
Up next: At 8-4, the Wolverines missed their chance at playing in a BCS game when they lost to Ohio State. Michigan is projected to play in the Capital One Bowl against Georgia on Jan. 1, according to CBSSports.com.
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.