B1G rankings: No. 12, Johnathan Hankins

The Big Ten postseason player rankings have reached the dandiest dozen.

As a reminder, these rankings are based solely on performance from the 2012 season. Checking in at No. 12 is a guy who might go in the first 12 picks of the April NFL draft …

No. 12: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State, junior, 6-foot-3, 322 pounds

Preseason rank: No. 18

2012 numbers: Had 55 tackles, including one sack and five tackles for loss. Named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press.

Why he’s here: With all the focus on recruiting this past week, you have to wonder again how Michigan and Michigan State let “Big Hank” get out of Detroit. He was ranked only a three-star recruit at the time by ESPN.com, but Hankins has far exceeded that projection.

Though his numbers don’t leap off the page, Hankins’ huge frame allowed him to become one of the best run-stuffers in the Big Ten. That’s why he’s being pegged as an early first-round pick after leaving Ohio State a year early.

Some scouts question Hankins’ motor, a criticism that seems to plague a lot of players his size at his position. And others would like to see him create more negative plays in opponents’ backfields. But there was a reason why Ohio State ranked second in the league in rush defense this season, and that reason had a lot to do with big ol’ No. 52. The Buckeyes will have a hard time replacing him, and the Michigan schools must still be kicking themselves over the one who got away.

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