Best Big 10 Defensive Linemen Returning for 2022

Despite losing several elite pass rushers in 2021, the Big 10 will return several high-caliber defensive linemen in 2022.
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There have been several positions the Big 10 has always been proud of developing into future NFL Stars. Several Big 10 schools like Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, and Minnesota have seen their edge rushers go and become elite playmakers in the NFL. In the past three seasons, the Big 10 has seen three defensive linemen/edge rushers go on to win AP NFL Defensive Rookies of the Year. Last season, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson was a Heisman Trophy finalist. Further, five defensive linemen or edge rushers were selected in the first two rounds. In this upcoming 2022 season, several defensive linemen are ready to dominate the Big 10. These four are the best Big 10 returning defensive linemen and will now be the face of some of the most tenacious defenses in the Big 10 in 2022.

Best Returning Defensive Linemen in the Big 10

DE Zach Harrison (Ohio State)

The Buckeyes previously created the Bosa brothers and Chase Young into NFL defensive stars. Next is six-foot-six-inch; 268-pound defensive end Zach Harrison, who enters 2022 as a senior. Harrison is a physical and athletically gifted defensive end who has been Ohio State’s true-strong end. Harrison plays with physicality at the line of scrimmage and can create separation from his blocker through solid movements. In three years at Ohio State, Harrison has accumulated 63 total tackles, 38 solo tackles, 16 tackles for loss, seven-and-a-half sacks, and five pass breakups. This past season, Harrison accounted for 25 total tackles, 18 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, and three pass breakups. He isn’t a defensive end that attacks from a two-point stance like Young did. Harrison, however, sets the edge with brute force and strength, making to tough to create a running game past him.
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EGGE Nick Herbig (Wisconsin)

One of the most anticipated Big 10 edge rushers this upcoming season is Nick Herbig, who likes to win matchups through athletic moves. Herbig possesses a high football IQ and instincts to create separation from the tackles to get to the quarterback. While he doesn’t like to be physical and create contact, he does, however, possess quick speed and flexibility. In two seasons at Wisconsin, Herbig has accumulated 87 total tackles, 63 solo tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. This past season, Herbig had 61 total tackles, 40 solo tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, four pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. Herbig could take the Big 10 by storm in 2022 due to his growing experience in the position.
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DT P.J. Mustipher (Penn State)

One of the biggest and most disruptive interior defensive linemen in P.J. Mustipher returns for his redshirt senior season. At six-foot-four-inches; 324 pounds, Mustipher is a monster in the middle of the Nittany Lions’ defense. He possesses incredible strength and motor to push the blocker into the backfield. In addition, he has great balance to not get pushed, even when double-teamed and can cause chaos in the backfield. In four seasons at Penn State, Mustipher has accumulated 107 total tackles, 49 solo tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss most of last season. Despite the injury, Mustipher was selected as a first-team All-Big 10 by Athlon Sports and Lindys.

DE Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern)

The Big 10 always loves physical and aggressive pass rushers. One strongside edge rusher that likes to be physically aggressive is Northwestern senior Adetomiwa Adebawore. He possesses a quick and explosive get-off at the snap of the football and likes to pass rush with physicality. Adebawore constantly finds his way into the opposing backfield by being physical and smart. He has gotten throughout his three seasons at Northwestern. He has accumulated 59 total tackles, 40 solo tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, seven-and-a-half sacks, five pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. This past season, Adebawore accounted for 36 total tackles, 24 solo tackles, eight-and-a-half tackles for loss, four-and-a-half sacks, one interception, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. Finally, he is a preseason second-team All-Big 10 selection by Athlon Sports and Lindys.

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