Shilique Calhoun is a two-time first-team All-Big Ten pick, a two-time second-team All-America selection and the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. So, it was a bit of a surprise when Calhoun announced in January that he would pass on the 2015 NFL Draft and return for a fifth year at Michigan State (he was redshirted in 2011).
The returns of Calhoun and quarterback Connor Cook added to an offseason of optimism spawned by a wild Cotton Bowl win over Baylor. With arguably the conference's top quarterback and one of its elite defenders, Michigan State is the strongest competition Ohio State will face in its quest to repeat as national champions.
Pulling back the curtain on the vote
What some of our analysts are saying about Calhoun
"Got overshadowed a bit in 2014; will re-emerge as a force in 2015." -- Charles Davis
"Will be a three-year starter in 2015. Has recorded 16.5 sacks, and been named a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and was the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year." -- Gil Brandt
"Disruptive edge player with a nasty streak. He is not a polished pass rusher, but dominates against the run game." -- Bucky Brooks
Where do fans rank Calhoun?
We asked Twitter users who they considered the best player in college football. Calhoun didn't receive a single vote from the fans, which comes as no surprise. Calhoun wasn't quite as impressive in 2014 as he was in 2013 as his conference's top defensive lineman. That could all change this fall as the talent-laden Spartans aim to give the defending national champions from Ohio State a run for their money in the Big Ten's East Division.