This is the fourth piece in our position-by-position look at the best tandems in the Big Ten this season. Today it's best defensive line duo.
The best: Penn State
The duo: DE Deion Barnes and DT DaQuan Jones
The reasoning: Barnes (6-feet-4, 245 pounds) redshirted as a true freshman in 2011, then became Penn State's top pass rusher last season, finishing with six sacks; he also had 10 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles, and was named the Big Ten freshman of the year. He got by last season mostly with effort and athleticism; as he continues to learn the intricacies of the position, the sky is the limit. He has big-time athleticism and a never-stop motor. Barnes needs to add some bulk and get better against the run, but his pass-rushing skills set him apart.
Jones (6-3, 318) wasn't all that productive in his first two seasons on campus, then burst on the scene in a big way last season, when he became a vital part of a solid defensive line. He is a big-time run-stuffer who mucks up things in the middle because of his strength (he benches more than 400 pounds) and power; he can take on two blockers and still maintain a solid base. Jones isn't much of a pass rusher, though he has dropped about 15 pounds since last season in an effort to be a bit quicker. Jones was a highly regarded offensive lineman in high school.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.