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The Big Ten's Best 11: No. 10 Brandon Graham, Michigan Defensive End

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Kristofer Green

Rich Rodriguez must have done a back flip when Brandon Graham gave him the news that he would be returning for his senior season.

The situation on the line was looking rather bleak with Terrence Taylor, Tim Jamison, and Will Johnson all graduating, but Graham, who could have been on an NFL roster in 2009, decided to stay.

Graham, who has 18.5 sacks in the last two seasons, automatically gives the Wolverines a terrifying presence up front, but it is his leadership and experience that is most invaluable to new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson.

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As the lone star on the line, and with the defense likely to work more in a 3-4, teams will throw everything including the waterboy at him to keep him from getting into the backfield.

And Robinson has been putting those leadership skills to the test throughout the spring as the Wolverines switch from a 4-3 defense to more of a 3-4 look.

Graham understands what that means.

As the lone star on the line, teams will throw everything including the waterboy at him to keep him from getting into the backfield and that's just fine with him.

Last season, Graham earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after making 46 tackles, ten sacks, and 20 tackles for loss.

Though his production may drop slightly this season due to consistent double and triple teams, Graham is ready to prove that he is the NFL prospect many believe him to be and his presence--and the attention it will generate--will make everyone around him better.

He's just that good. And the Wolverine defense is much, much better off with him.

No. 10 Brandon Graham, Michigan DE
No. 11 Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State DE

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