Darqueze Dennard can help draft stock vs. Ohio State

One of the best individual matchups to watch Saturday will come in the Big Ten championship game, when Ohio State senior wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown takes on Michigan State senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

Brown mocked Michigan State's secondary earlier this week, which should give their battles some added spice.

NFL Media reporter Albert Breer says Dennard's performance Saturday provides him another chance to rise on draft boards.

"He's fast, he doesn't get beat," an AFC college scouting director said of Dennard. "A tough, sound tackler. Just a good all-around player. And this is the chance to show up against a high-powered offense in both coverage and run support."

Dennard (5-foot-11, 197 pounds), who already has accepted a Senior Bowl invitation, is fifth on the Spartans with 47 tackles and first with four picks and seven pass breakups. He also has 2.5 tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Dennard is a physical player who is comfortable in press coverage.

Dennard was lightly recruited out of Jeffersonville (Ga.) Twiggs County High, but he has been an important player since he arrived on campus in 2010. He wasn't even offered a scholarship until after safety Christian Bryant committed to Ohio State over the Spartans late in the recruiting process.

His cousin, Alfonzo Dennard, played at Nebraska from 2008-11 and now starts for the New England Patriots.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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