This is the fifth piece in our position-by-position look at the best tandems in the Big Ten this season. Today it's best linebacker duo.
The best: Michigan State
The duo: OLB Denicos Allen and ILB Max Bullough
The reasoning: Allen's lack of size (he's 5-feet-11 and 218 pounds) is a negative for the next level, but he makes plays thanks to his instincts and quickness. Allen, a senior, will be a three-year starter and enters his senior season with 14 sacks (tied for 10th in school history) and 29.5 tackles for loss (11th in school history). While he can be engulfed at times by big linemen, he moves well laterally and generally gets to where he's supposed to be before he can be blocked.
Bullough (6-3, 245), a senior, is a tough, physical run-stuffer; he also has all the needed intangibles, as coaches and teammates rave about his leadership qualities. Bullough, who will be a three-year starter, has made 200 tackles in the past two seasons. He has 21 career tackles for loss to go with 6.5 sacks, three picks and three forced fumbles. Bullough's brother, Riley, is in the running to be the Spartans' starting tailback. His dad, Shane, was a starting linebacker for the Spartans in the mid-'80s, and his grandfather, Hank, is a former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.