As Nebraska prepares for another run through the Big Ten Conference, HuskerOnline.com will get you ready with ranking analysis pieces breaking down each position in the league. Today, we look at the top safeties in the Big Ten heading into 2014.
1. Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State, 6-1, 200, Sr.
One of the most decorated returning defensive backs not only in the Big Ten but in all of college football, Kurtis Drummond will be the face of what should be another dominant Michigan State defense this season. Earning first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2013 following his career-high 91 tackles, four interceptions and 10 pass breakups, expectations for Drummond are as high as ever as he looks to cement himself as the top NFL safety prospect in the country.
2. Sean Davis, Maryland, 6-1, 195, Jr.
There may not have been a more productive safety in the ACC last season than Maryland's Sean Davis, who racked up 102 total tackles (7.8 per game) and two interceptions as just a sophomore in 2013. On a Terrapin defense that doesn't feature many other big names, Davis will once again lead the way for the unit as Maryland makes its Big Ten debut this year.
3. Corey Cooper, Nebraska, 6-1, 215, Sr.
Not only was Corey Cooper a stabilizing force in Nebraska's locker room last season as one of the main leaders of the defense, he was also one of the most consistent players in NU's secondary. Cooper led the Huskers with 91 tackles, including 52 solo stops, to go along with an interception and two sacks. He was given honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors for his efforts, but look for Cooper to push for even bigger accolades in 2014.
Ibraheim Campbell has been a mainstay in Northwestern's secondary since his redshirt freshman year, and many expect him to have his best season yet as a senior in 2014. He's already recorded 262 career tackles in his first three seasons as a Wildcat, including 73 stops and four interceptions last year as a junior.
5. Cedric Thompson, Minnesota, 5-10, 211, Sr.
A big part of Minnesota's bounce-back season last year was the play of its defense, and few Gophers were more consistent on that side of the ball than Cedric Thompson. With 79 tackles on the year, Thompson saved his best performance for last with 14 total tackles in Minnesota's loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl. His leadership in the secondary will once again be extremely important as UM tries to take another step in 2014.