We've turned a small corner in our unveiling of the Preseason Top 25 players of the Big Ten and before we get to our No. 20 player on the list, let's remind you of who made up the first five on the list.
After a defensive heavy first five will we see some more impact players on the offensive side of the ball in our list? Well, our No. 20 selection certainly is an impact player on the offensive side of the ball.
Before we get into our No. 20 player, let us remind you of what criteria we used to make our Top 25 list. We used things like importance to your team, overall skill at your position, records set, past performance, conference honors (coaches, media, our list too), and the good old-fashioned eye test.
Now let's get into another reason why some have referred to Wisconsin as "Tight End U" as of late.....
No. 20 Jacob Pedersen
2012 Stats/Honors: 27 receptions, 355 yards, 8 touchdowns; Big Ten's Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year, 1st Team All-Big Ten by coaches, Honorable Mention by Media.
What makes him worthy: He's a game changer on offense. When Wisconsin couldn't find a second option at the wide receiver spot they turned to Pederson who delivered big time as the numbers above suggest.
Sorry, you don't become Big Ten Tight End of the Year by being mediocre. Pederson is also rounding into a fine blocking tight end as well, something he's continuously worked on throughout his career at UW.
Yes, he didn't have the numbers of 2011 in 2012, but in terms of average yards per catch he did improve (13.1 in 2012 from 11.9 in 2011) and over the course of the Big Ten season it's hard to argue there was a more important player in the Badgers passing game. Some teams even took to double-teaming him at times with a linebacker and safety pulling that duty.
With Dion Sims off to the NFL it's hard to argue he isn't the most complete tight end in the Big Ten entering 2013. He's the best route runner, a more than adequate blocker and tough matchup of size and speed for any defense. That's how a TE becomes a major offensive weapon on his team.
How about some double your pleasure, double your fun for good measure?