login / sign up / content filter is: on

Home > Blogs > Official Husker Locker Blog > Search

Official Husker Locker Blog

Blog (1 – 19 of 19)

  1. 2011 Apr 06

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top 40 Recruits, Nos. 10-1

    4,969 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    We scoured the recruiting lists and picked 40 players in the Big Ten who we think will make the biggest impact over the next 4-5 years.
     
    One factor we considered – which skews in favor of quarterbacks – is the potential impact of a player. Impact is magnified by the importance of the position. And the QB is the most important player on the field.  

    Nos. 10-1

    No. 10 Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah: He finishes higher on the list than Aaron Green because of his ability to pound the ball through the tackles and his pass receiving skills. At 5-foot-9, 177 pounds, Abdullah seems small but he's built, especially in the legs. He flew under the radar until last summer, when he became an unqualified star at a variety of camps. As a senior in Alabama, he was spectacular, rushing for 1,795 yards, and catching 26 passes for 561 yards. Tack on four return touchdowns, and it's easy to see why USC and Auburn put on late pressure to grab Abdullah. He stuck with the Huskers, however.

    No. 9 Ohio State defensive end Chase Farris: A dominant player in high school because of his 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame, Farris also displays the savvy and smart play of a college upperclassman. He's developed moves, knows how to anchor the edge against the run, and fights off blockers with solid technique. Farris isn't exactly the fastest defensive end, but he makes for it by reading the quarterback and taking good pursuit angles. He's not as flashy as some of Buckeyes' other defensive end recruits, but he's more dependable.

    No. 8 Nebraska defensive tackle Todd Peat, Jr.: The upside on this kid could be higher than any defensive tackle in the 2011 recruiting class, and he's headed to a program that knows how to develop great defensive tackles. The 6-foot-3, 300-pounder has freakish athleticism. He appeared to get bored, frankly, in high school, and it showed in some inconsistent performances. He throws offensive linemen and ball carriers like rag dolls, spinning them to the earth with violence and ease. His frame is such that he can redistribute some of his weight to make him more effective against the run. Peat's high school film bears an uncanny resemblance to Ndamukong Suh, another inconsistent, occasionally-bored player in high school.

    No. 7 Nebraska cornerback Charles Jackson: He plays the position like he loves to live on the edge. He challenges every receiver. Trusts his instincts won't fail him when he makes a break on the ball. Tackles well. Although a bit undersized at 5-11, 180, Jackson's vertical leap and catch-up speed make up for it. It's rare that high school cornerbacks come to college ready to play out of the chute. But Jackson can – and he just might.

    No. 6 Michigan running back Justice Hayes: An electric runner who could evoke memories of Desmond Howard as a kick and punt returner, the 5-10, 175-pound Hayes plays like a pinball, bouncing and jumping and darting around problems. He can be tough to find in traffic, and tough to grab when you do. He's not exactly a blazer, but he breaks a ton of tackles and has the kind of vision that allows him to see a few defenders ahead of the move he's making. Hayes can play at wide receiver as running back, and Michigan should have a role for him next year. He'd be a lethal combination on the zone read with Denard Robinson, that's for sure.

    No. 5 Penn State defensive end Anthony Zettel: Unquestionably PSU's top recruit of the 2011 class, Zettel reminds us of a Jared Crick-type player at end. Really quick off the ball. Physically superior to most kids in his class. Relentless. Tough. Hot motor. His 6-4, 250-pound could actually allow him to slide inside, gain 40 pounds and become a defensive tackle. He can shoot gaps and bust double teams. He's the best Big Ten defensive line prospect on the board, in our opinion.

    No. 4 Iowa running back Mikail McCall: Highly underrated back whose 5-11, 210-pound frame is packed with surprising breakaway speed, McCall is perfectly suited for the Hawkeyes' system. He spent his high school career running the stretch zone and inside counter plays Iowa specializes in. Runs with forward lean and considerable, impressive momentum. Knows how to jump cut back against the grain. Pulls away from defensive backs in the secondary. The knock is his 40-yard dash time, but his on-field speed in videos tells a different story. He's a real keeper.

    No. 3 Michigan State linebacker Lawrence Thomas: They don't make them like Thomas every day, a giant linebacker at 6-4, 230 whose stock dropped during senior All-Star games when he didn't make much of an impact in drills. Thomas needs a little polish, sure. But he's the lottery winner in the athletic gene pool, with 4.6 speed, strength and ferocious hitting skills. He could play defensive end, outside linebacker or right in the middle. In a sheer skillset, he reminds of a Brian Urlacher type, although not quite as fast as Urlacher.

    No. 2 Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant: A natural, instinctive linebacker with terrific size, the 6-3, 220-pound Grant plays the Mike the way it should be. He has good recognition skills. He plays downhill and takes on blockers in the running game. He's a smart blitzer, timing up snap counts for the best possible pass rush. He doesn't overextend himself on playaction. He has a good motor and a better brain for the game. Grant's drawn comparisons to a young Ray Lewis. We'll see if he can live up to those. OSU may need him early in 2011.

    No. 1 Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller: Could he play in 2011? He just might, considering the Buckeyes need somebody to man the spot whole Terrelle Pryor sits out five games because of a suspension. Miller is seemingly a close of former OSU Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith – hopefully without Smith's off-the-field issues. At 6-2, 185 pounds, Miller is a fluid runner, a savvy, composed passer and elusive as all get out. Another useful comparison is Tyrod Taylor, who just finished his career at Virginia Tech and played in three Orange Bowls. Miller's at the top because he controls his own destiny – even this year – and has the potential keys to the Big Ten's best program.

    See also: Nos. 40-31, 30-21, 20-11,

    Tags: know your big ten, recruiting, big ten top 40 recruits, charles jackson, ameer abdullah, todd peat

  2. 2011 Mar 24

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top 40 Recruits, Nos. 20-11

    5,988 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    We scoured the recruiting lists and picked 40 players in the Big Ten who we think will make the biggest impact over the next 4-5 years.
     
    One factor we considered – which skews in favor of quarterbacks – is the potential impact of a player. Impact is magnified by the importance of the position. And the QB is the most important player on the field.  
     
    Here’s 20-11:

    No. 20 Iowa offensive guard Austin Blythe: This 6-foot-3, 280-pounder is a classic Iowa recruit. Strong. Technically sound. High motor. A real road-grader with good foot speed, Blythe is the kind of lineman who can play early – perhaps in his redshirt freshman season. The Hawkeyes may not need him that quickly, but his development time seems shorter than most.

    No. 19 Michigan tackle Chris Bryant: In a word: Upside. At 6-5, 330 pounds, Bryant needs to lose some weight and redistribute even more. But if he does that, the Wolverines have a stud on their hands. Bryant's brute strength is his biggest asset in the running game, while he shows off surprisingly nimble feet for a guy his size. All the natural tools are there. They just need to be properly sculpted.

    No. 18 Iowa tight end Roy Hamilton: How many tight ends catch 55 passes for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns in their senior season of high school? He might be 6-5, 230, but Hamilton has the moves and timing of a wide receiver. He almost always gets a good release. He works the seams of the defense with skill. He knows how to catch the ball at the highest point. Plus – he's play at Iowa, which makes a living off of talented tight end like Hamilton.

    No. 17 Nebraska running back Aaron Green: Instant offense. An electric open field runner, Green's at his best when it's him, a defender and a patch of green. In between the tackles, he's a little less durable and consistent, but watch out when he's lined up as a wide receiver or he can get a pitch on the corner. At 5-11, 190, he's low enough to the ground that he can be tough for opponents to tackle. He could be a threat in the return game, too.

    No. 16 Iowa athlete Rodney Coe: The rumbler. He's a 6-3, 230-pound running back, and those don't come around every day. Why? Because few of them have Coe's nifty footwork and hands to make it work. And not many big guys are as tall as Coe, either. Most resembling former Penn State great Larry Johnson as a runner – although not as fast or mean as Johnson could be he chose to be – Coe may still end up at linebacker or even tight end down the line. He's an intriguing prospect. Rarely do guys that big have so many versatile gifts.

    No. 15 Nebraska safety Daimion Stafford: The best JUCO in the class is limited to some extent by the fact that he only has two years remaining of eligibility. He's 6-1, 210 and plays the safety role like a bullet shot out of a gun. Stafford hits with authority, plays fast and adjusts well in pass coverage. He's a threat in the return game, too. One way or another, he'll find the field for Nebraska next year.

    No. 14 Nebraska quarterback Bubba Starling: His place on this list obviously comes with a qualifier: He actually has to end up playing college football first. If he does, Starling, having gained more than 2,000 yards rushing last year on 11 yards per carry, could get immediately playing time as a Tim Tebowesque Wildcat shotgun quarterback. He's a powerful, elusive, just-try-and-stop-me runner. He needs work as a passer. But any coach would crave the opportunity to mold that special clay.

    No. 13 Nebraska linebacker David Santos: The Houston-area defensive player of the year, Santos may be a little bit undersized at 6-0, 200, but he's not to be underestimated. Some kids just get the the game, and Santos is one of them. He moves to the ball so quickly-yet-intelligently from his middle backer spot, and he's such a sure tackler once he meets his target. He moves well laterally and can sit in a hole and take on a block, too. He's like a high school version of a Derrick Brooks, and he has the 136 tackles to prove it.

    No. 12 Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett: We're still not quite sold that this 6-foot-3, 275-pounder can survive the game-to-game grind of defensive tackle. He has a build almost befitting of an end or a big middle linebacker in a 3-4 defense. But Bennett is lightning quick off the ball – especially on offense, where he plays guard. He plays hard, too, as a guy that size must in college. Interesting prospect. Is he big enough?

    No. 11 Nebraska quarterback Jamal Turner: Watching film of him scurry around the field, looking for openings to run – or lanes through which to pass – one gets the overwhelming sense that Turner just makes plays. Not every one of them is spectacular. But each one adds up to something. Although a 6-foot, 180-pound quarterback, he reminds us most of NU's Rex Burkhead, another make-it-work guy. Turner's arm isn't strong, but it's accurate. He's not a 4.3-second 40-yard dash guy, but he's elusive and smart, setting up the opposition. For a kid who rarely won games in high school – his Arlington, Texas team had no defense of which to speak – he's still a winner.

    Tags: know your big ten, recruiting, big ten top 40 recruits

  3. 2011 Mar 19

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top 40 Recruits, Nos. 30-21

    7,706 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    We scoured the recruiting lists and picked 40 players in the Big Ten who we think will make the biggest impact over the next 4-5 years.
     
    One factor we considered – which skews in favor of quarterbacks – is the potential impact of a player. Impact is magnified by the importance of the position. And the QB is the most important player on the field.  
     
    Here’s 30-21:

    No. 30 Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett: At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, the kid catches virtually everything thrown his way; he's a good enough receiver to split out wide if the Buckeyes need that. Can he block the Big Ten level? He'll have to prove it. On pass plays, however, he will be a very hard matchup for any linebacker or safety.

    No. 29 Michigan athlete Raymon Taylor: Decommitted from Indiana late in the process, robbing the Hoosiers of, well, their best recruit. IU lost their just-hired defensive back coach, Corey Raymond, to Nebraska, so that didn't help. At 5-10, 170, Taylor probably projects to corner – although he could easily play receiver. Watch for him on special teams, too. The Wolverines had plenty of speed already – that's one thing Rich Rod could recruit – but here's some more.

    No. 28 Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon: This 6-foot, 190-pounder originally committed to Iowa, then “saw the light,” according to Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, when he Madison for UW's dominant win over Ohio State. He entered his senior season as an “athlete” whom some believed projected better to defensive back. A 2,000-yard, 38-touchdown season changed that.

    No. 27 Ohio State center Brian Bobek: Prototypically sized at 6-2, 280 pounds to play center, Bobek is an old-school bull of an offensive lineman. Strong. Physical. Intimidating. The Buckeyes pretty much have their pick of the offensive line litter in Big Ten country, and they offered Bobek early in the process. He's a keeper.

    No. 26 Nebraska offensive guard Ryan Klachko: He plays the game much like just-graduated NU guard Ricky Henry – who won All-Big 12 honors for his efforts – with more speed and size than Henry did. Klachko is especially dominant as a pulling guard. For a Husker offense looking to return to its “mashing” roots, that's a good thing.

    No. 25 Penn State defensive end Deion Barnes: The first of two Nittany Lion defensive end recruits on our list, Barnes is big – 6-5, 220 – with room to grow after that. He'll have to; right now, he looks more like a small forward than a defensive end. But he's developed pretty good moves for a kid not yet in college, and he possesses natural speed to turn the corner on a tackle. Barnes sometimes lines up a four-point stance; he may need to change that in college to improve his leverage. He's almost too tall to do it.

    No. 24 Michigan defensive end Brennan Beyer: A stockier, stronger, less quick version of Barnes who sets a nice anchor against the run on the strong side and has the power to run over an average tackle. Several Pac-10 teams came after Beyer pretty hard, so teams think he has the speed to get around the corner.

    No. 23 Nebraska center Ryne Reeves: The best center prospect out of Nebraska – which has turned out its share – in years, Reeves is 6-3, 300 and awful darn quick for that size. He really moves his feet well in pass drills and creates a hard base to get around. As a defensive lineman, he reminds us of a shorter Jared Crick. Reeves will be given a good shot at playing NU's O-line as a freshman.

    No. 22 Penn State offensive tackle Donovan Smith: He's listed at 6-5, 270, but we think he weighs more. Smith is raw, but nasty. In drills, defensive ends want no part of going right at him; he'll grab, smack, claw and yank a dude with his giant hands. There's not a lot technique there, but Smith has an intimidation factor that can be smoothed over by PSU's experienced offensive line coaches. As a run blocker, Smith moves people out.

    No. 21 Illinois quarterback Riley O'Toole: He's listed at 6-4, 215, but he seems a little shorter and chunkier to us, perhaps a taller version of former Florida State quarterback Dan Kendra. He threw 42 touchdowns to lead Wheaton (Ill.) South High School to a undefeated state championship. O'Toole has good footwork, pocket presence and toughness. He doesn't give up on a route too quickly. He displays surprisingly good touch on deep and intermediate throws – which can sometimes be the last thing for a quarterback to figure out. Like a lot of great high school quarterbacks, he thinks he can make every throw. He'll have several years as Nathan Scheelhaase's understudy to realize that's not true.

    Tags: know your big ten, recruiting, big ten top 40 recruits, ryne reeves, ryan klachko

  4. 2011 Feb 27

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top 40 Recruits, Nos. 40-31

    11,646 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    We scoured the recruiting lists and picked 40 players in the Big Ten who we think will make the biggest impact over the next 4-5 years.
     
    One factor we considered – which skews in favor of quarterbacks – is the potential impact of a player. Impact is magnified by the importance of the position. And the QB is the most important player on the field.  
     
    Here’s 40-31:
     
    No. 40 Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook: The 6-3, 200-pounder would be ranked higher on the list if the Spartans hadn’t recruited two studs – Andrew Maxwell and Joe Boisture – in the 2009 and 2010 classes, respectively. Cook’s just as solid as either one of them. He has a quick release, a good gun and he’ll hang in the pocket long enough to let routes develop downfield. Cook’s not the mobile QB, but he can push the pocket and buy time. Kid has moxie.
     
    No. 39 Ohio State defensive end Steve Miller: We don’t like him as much as the recruitniks. A product of the Canton McKinley powerhouse football factory, Miller sure looks the part – 6-4, 230 –  but he’s not terribly quick off the ball in videos and he seems to play without much urgency. He’s an average player with an incredible frame.
     
    No. 38 Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson: Mr. Indiana in football, Roberson had a spectacular senior year, amassing nearly 4,600 total yards and accounting for 45 touchdowns. He’s a bit undersized at 6-1, 175, but new head coach Kevin Wilson has vowed to give the kid a good shot. And Wilson has worked with some pretty good signal-callers.
     
    No. 37  Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier: Playing with his hand down in Florida high school football, Shazier – 6-3, 205 – will have to the make transition to a new position in college. He’s a real blazer off the edge – he could be one heck of a 3-4 outside linebacker – but he’ll need some bulk to square up in the Big Ten. Interesting product. Could hit big – or just be another cog in the Buckeye wheel.
     
     No. 36 Illinois tight end Jon Davis: At 6-2, 230, Davis could play several positions on offense or defense – including running back – but he’s probably a good fit in Paul Petrino’s offense at tight end. Fast, strong and sure-handed, Davis chose the Illini over a late push from Oregon. Don’t be surprised if he plays right away in 2011.
     
    No. 35 Iowa offensive guard Jordan Walsh: The Hawkeyes know how to turn beef into great offensive linemen. Walsh isn’t huge right now – 6-3, 275 – but he’s agile and quick. He’ll be perfect, after a few years of seasoning, at those classic Iowa cutback power plays.
     
    No. 34 Indiana wide receiver Shane Wynn: Love this kid. Just 5-6, 150, he can get in and out of breaks as quickly as any Big Ten recruit. On a team needing some speed now that Tandon Doss declared for the NFL Draft, Wynn should see four years of play in Hoosierville. He’ll be one of the best returning specialists in the league.
     
    No. 33 Nebraska offensive tackle Tyler Moore: One of the best tackle prospects in the country, Moore’s size – 6-6, 295 – and skillset screams prototypical. We think the upside on another Big Ten recruit is a bit higher, but Moore’s definitely going to be a solid player for years to come. He’s a keeper.
     
    No. 32 Ohio State defensive end Kenny Hayes: Stronger and more dominant than Miller, Hayes has the kind of frame – 6-5, 240 – that could turn into a defensive tackle (or a 3-4 end). He sets a good edge against the run; he’ll improve as a pass rusher. If OSU gets thin at tackle, he could slide inside.
     
    No. 31 Northwestern quarterback Zack Oliver: Here’s the sleeper of our list. Criminally underrated by the recruitniks despite being the best quarterback in Louisiana for two years, Oliver’s good footwork, perfect stature – 6-4, 220 – and strong pocket presence makes him a good fit for the Wildcats’ pass-heavy offense. Watch for this guy in a few years.

    Tags: know your big ten, recruiting, big ten top 40 recruits

  5. 2011 Feb 18

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top New and Returning Players, Nos. 5-1

    9,038 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Now that the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft has come and gone, let's take a quick look at the top 25 players returning to the Big Ten next year.

    Rankings are based on two criteria:

    1. You should be, well, pretty darn good.

    2. The impact you can make on the game at your position. We rank QB at the top, elite defensive tackle right after that, rush end, anchor at left tackle, then shutdown corner, and so on. In other words: Wisconsin running backs may feel a bit slighted.


    No. 5 Nebraska linebacker LaVonte David: The most pleasant surprise of the 2010 Big 12 season, David had one month to learn one of the nation's most intricate defenses – Bo Pelini's plan can dramatically change week to week – and shore up a position devastated with injuries. He did much more than that, setting the school record for tackles and serving as the Huskers' best blitzer – bar none. David is one of those “everywhere” guys who's destined to be a starting, albeit slightly undersized, NFL linebacker; his instincts and quickness allow him to play “underneath” the block; he can avoid a lot of offensive guards and fullbacks by filling the hole late – yet still making the play. And he's nearly impossible for running back to get around if he sniffs out a play to the sideline. Whereas most linebackers make the “fit” at the line of scrimmage or just beyond it, David can go 2-3 yards behind it, bouncing a play toward the corner and safety without risking a cutback. He's a good foot tackler, too. The Miami native does things that hard to teach and capture on high school film.

    No. 4 Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins: A strong, sturdy signal-caller with good footwork. When he gets in a groove, he's hard to get out of it – especially on those seam routes down the middle. He's strong enough for the Aikman-style backpedal from center – which opens up the whole field of vision upon the snap, and he's not afraid to fit passes into tight spots. Cousins is just mobile enough, too, for rollout passes and the occasional scramble. While he threw ten interceptions in 2010, Cousins operates more of a downfield, risk/reward offense that befits his arm strength. When Cousins had to deliver in Chicago, when Michigan State trailed 24-14 Northwestern heading into the fourth quarter, Cousins did just that, hitting 7 of 8 passes on the game-winning drive.

    No. 3 Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa: Probably the most exciting Wildcat player since Darnell Autry, Persa was the straw that stirred NW's drink last year until an injury sidelined him for the last three games. The Wildcats lost all of them, by the way. Generously listed at 6-1, 205 – if Persa is taller than six foot, we'd be surprised – the senior completed 74 percent of his passes last year and – more importantly – rushed for 519 yards and nine touchdowns. His accomplishments were lost in comparison to Denard Robinson in 2010 – of course they were – but it was Persa, not Robinson, who gave Michigan State and Iowa fits, accounting for six touchdowns against just two turnovers. Compare that to two touchdowns and four turnovers for Robinson in those same games. If Persa returns from a ruptured Achilles heel at full strength, Northwestern has a chance at eight wins – and a major spoiler role in the Legends Division.

    No. 2 Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick: The Big 12's most dominant defensive lineman now takes over the same role in the Big Ten, where we suspect pro-style offenses will be...surprised at Crick's pass-rushing skills. Blessed with a quick first step and natural athleticism, Crick is a load for any offensive guard or tackle to hand one-on-one, and he can step out on the end, if need be, and force a 1-on-1 matchup if he's asked to do it. There are handful of plays during any given game where Crick seems impossible to block in the passing game. The running game can be a little different, and it's here where Crick could stand to gain a bit more weight and polish up his technique. He can occasionally get turned by a guard on power plays, if not blown off the ball. Because NU asks its defensive linemen to hold their ground on running plays – thus creating a “fit” for the linebackers to make plays – Crick can appear to be treading water at times when it fact he's doing his job.

    But, overall, he's a NFL first-round draft pick in-the-making with a blunt, no-nonsense leadership style. Crick fits perfectly into the Big Ten, and he'll be our early leader for preseason player of the year – even if our favorite Husker defender is cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.

    No. 1B Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson: Shoelaces made college football his oyster last year, and if this were the 1950s, and players on losing teams still won the Heisman, then Robinson would have coasted to victory. He amassed 4,572 yards – 1,702 on the ground – and 32 touchdowns. He was capable of anything on each play – a killer interception or a breathtaking run – and that made Robinson must-see TV throughout the year. If the Wolverines had a defense, who knows how great Robinson's year might have been?

    But his numbers began to decline after a mediocre performance in s 34-17 loss to Michigan State. Defenses never exactly stopped Robinson – but they could contain him, or at least coax him into unforced errors. It culminated in a 52-14 loss to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. Robinson got his yards, but he didn't make very many plays in the red zone. The book on him is now this: Don't give up the big play to Shoelaces, and eventually he'll make the wrong kind of big play – in your favor.

    A new head coach in Brady Hoke and new offensive coordinator in Al Borges could help Robinson become more consistent at UM – or it could frustrate him. Don't kid yourself: Soon enough, Michigan will be sniffing around for those classic, drop back quarterbacks that starred in the program through 2007 – Grbac, Collins, Griese, Brady, Henson, Henne, Mallett. The 5-11 Robinson – who reminds us most of former Colorado option wizard Darian Hagan – will be a bridge from the failed RichRod era to the new (but old) pro-style era for which the Wolverines are best known. He – not his coaches – will have to adapt.

    For the sake of our sheer enjoyment watching the kid – we hope he does it.

    No. 1A The Ohio State quarterback: And this will be, as we all know, at least two different guys unless the NCAA erases its five-game suspension for Terrelle Pryor. Here is the top story heading into the 2011 Big Ten football season: How does OSU head coach Jim Tressel manage Pryor's absence throughout the non-conference schedule – plus the big Michigan State game – and how does he manage Pryor upon his return to the field? Understand that, by the time Pryor comes back for the Oct. 8 game at Nebraska, the Buckeyes could be 3-2 and facing a must-win situation – and the Big Ten's best defense - in Lincoln. Can Pryor deliver in that game?

    Who is his replacement for the first five games? “Journeyman Joe” Bauserman? Sophomore Kenny Guiton? True freshman Braxton Miller? A combination of all three?

    Pryor will also miss spring practice while recovering from foot surgery after he suffered a painful injury right near the end of the Sugar Bowl. So No. 2 – perhaps the most polarizing Buckeye in Columbus since Robert Smith or Cris Carter, will get six long months to think about those next live snaps in fall practice. And even then – Pryor can't play until October.

    Tressel gets paid major coin to run the Big Ten's premier football program – and he'll sure earn it during the first half of 2011.

    See also: Nos. 25-21 and Nos. 20-16, Nos. 15-11, Nos. 6-10

    Tags: know your big ten, big ten, lavonte david, jared crick, denard robinson, terrelle pryor, dan persa, kirk cousins

  6. 2011 Jan 24

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top New and Returning Players, Nos. 15-11

    8,018 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Now that the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft has come and gone, let's take a quick look at the top 25 players returning to the Big Ten next year.

    Rankings are based on two criteria:

    1. You should be, well, pretty darn good.

    2. The impact you can make on the game at your position. We rank QB at the top, elite defensive tackle right after that, rush end, anchor at left tackle, then shutdown corner, and so on. In other words: Wisconsin running backs may feel a bit slighted.


    Here's Nos. 15-11:

    No. 15 Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead: Swiss Army Rex. Rex of All of Trades. Red Rex. A favorite of Husker fans for his toughness and versatility, Burkhead (1,134 rushing, receiving and passing yards, 10 total touchdowns) will have the starting running back job all to himself in 2011. Nebraska coaches certainly hope he's flanked by some speedy freshmen, but Burkhead will remain the primary weapon – especially on third down, as he's the Huskers' best pass blocker and pass-catcher. Burkhead will also operate the Wildcat. He's not necessarily a gamebreaker – Roy Helu busted most of the long runs last year, but he has a nose for the first down marker and the end zone and he rarely makes mistakes.

    No. 14 Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater: Surrounded by strong defensive players and buffeted by one of the nation's best defensive line, Prater played with aggression and confidence in 2010. At 5-11, 180, he's not necessarily the biggest corner on the field, but he'll play physically on the island. Prater is a decent tackler, redirects receivers effectively and doesn't let a lot of big plays get behind him. How will he play without a terrific defensive line, though? We'll find out. Prater is on the short list, however, for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

    No. 13 Michigan State running back Edwin Baker: Rumble young Baker, rumble. The No. 2 running back on our list has the build – 5-foot-9, 208 pounds - quick feet and running style of one of the NFL's best, Maurice Jones-Drew. Baker (1,201 rushing yards, 13 TDs) only needs to become a better receiver. As a runner, he dips in and darts out of traffic, using those quick feet to chop around obstacles and tacklers. Good breakaway speed, too. He plum stunk in MSU's two losses to Iowa and Alabama (21 total carries for 35 whole yards), but the rest of the Spartans did, too. He'll share time with Le'Veon Bell, but Bell only had 26 carries in the final six games last year. Baker's the guy.

    No. 12 Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt: The Hawkeyes' best receiver and big-play threat (861 yards and 8 TDs) in 2010 with have tougher sledding in 2011 now that teammates Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Colin Sandeman have graduated at wide receiver. (Iowa loses tight end Allen Reisner, too, but the Hawks usually just reload there.) McNutt has good moves, excellent change of direction and strong top-end speed. Iowa may run more in 2011 and throw less, but McNutt will be the No. 1 target, especially for the deep ball.

    No. 11 Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez: Your guess is as good as ours to do with this kid. Spectacular in ways few NU players have ever been – but often just that frustrating after an ankle injury – Martinez is the wild card to NU's 2011 season. If he were to progress as a quarterback and learn from his many mistakes in the last half of the season, his ceiling as a college quarterback is quite high. If he's stubborn or slow to pick up more of the offense, he may not even start next year. He's still just a sophomore, but the kid appears already at a crossroads. He had a lot of trust to win on and off the field. It's not much his fault, but it's his cross to bear.

    The numbers, of course, can't be ignored: 2,600 total yards, 22 total touchdowns. Neither can some of the breathtakingly bad decisions he made and sacks he took in the Big 12 Championship and Holiday Bowl.

    T-Magic's curtains aren't closed. Far from it. But he'll need to refine his act.

    See also: Nos. 25-21 and Nos. 20-16, Nos. 15-11

    Tags: know your big ten, rex burkhead, taylor martinez

  7. 2011 Jan 20

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top New and Returning Players, Nos. 20-16

    13,142 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Now that the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft has come and gone, let's take a quick look at the top 25 players returning to the Big Ten next year.

    Rankings are based on two criteria:

    1. You should be, well, pretty darn good.

    2. The impact you can make on the game at your position. We rank QB at the top, elite defensive tackle right after that, rush end, anchor at left tackle, then shutdown corner, and so on.


    Here's Nos. 20-16:

    No. 20 Ohio State receiver Devier Posey: After a breakout season in 2010 – 53 catches, 848 yards, 7 TDs - Posey, part of the Ohio State 5, will have to sit out some portion of the 2011 season. Otherwise he'd be higher on the list – a list we'll revisit in fall if Posey's five-game suspension is reduced. A classic downfield threat in the mold of Ted Ginn, Jr. or Santonio Holmes – although he's bigger than both and not quite as fast – Posey changes the way an opponent has to defend the Buckeyes. If teams choose to bracket Posey with a safety and corner, that opens up the deep middle of the field for slot receivers and tight ends once the safety vacates. If defenses – like Nebraska's – chooses to man up on Posey, well, they roll the dice. Posey had catches of 25 yards or longer in eight of his 14 games.

    No. 19 Wisconsin running back James White: The kid racked up some gaudy stats – 1,052 yards, 14 TDs – as the Badgers' No. 3 back in 2010, but we don't exactly expect an encore. Wisconsin's offense had all the pieces last year to hit on every cylinder, and White racked up a ton of yardage in the second halves of games, when Wisky already had a win wrapped up.

    But in the Badgers' five closest games of last year, here's White's average stat line: 10 carries, 53 yards. Not bad. But not an All-American, either, considering the quality of Wisky's line – the best in America. White is a steady back, with some explosiveness in him, but he still misses holes and lacks the kind of active vision that comes with game experience.

    No. 18 Illinois running back Jason Ford: After sitting behind starter Mikel LeShoure – the nation's best running back in 2010 – for two years, Ford, a similarly-built talent at 6-1, 235 pounds, will get his shot as a senior. Not that Ford's exactly been quiet in 2008 and 2009, when he had 1,248 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns. He was a strong, thundering compliment to LeShoure's skills. Barring injury, look for Ford to easily top 1,000 rushing yards next year with an eye on 1,500. Expect double-digit touchdowns, too.

    No. 17 Michigan State linebacker Lawrence Thomas: Yes, a true freshman – and one of the few defensive players on this list. Why? Because many of the league's best defensive players either graduated – Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, Michigan State's Greg Jones, Ohio State's Cam Heyward, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn – or declared for the NFL Draft – Illinois' Martez Wilson and Corey Liuget, Wisconsin's J.J. Watt. That leaves some pretty slim pickings in the Big Ten for defenders, and here's Thomas, a Detroit Public School Leaguer whom many believe is the No. 1 overall recruit of any Big Ten team this year.

    Thomas has prototypical size – 6-4, 230 – and good speed for that frame. More importantly, he understands the game well enough to make an early impact. For a MSU team that seemed to be missing that extra athletic piece on defense in the Capitol One Bowl – Thomas could be that guy who helps deliver an outright Big Ten title in 2011.

    No. 16 Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase: Illini offensive coordinator Paul Petrino brought this redshirt freshman along slowly but steadily in 2010, culminating in a sparkling performance in the Texas Bowl, when he passed for 242 and rushed for 55 in a 38-14 win over Baylor. After finishing with nearly 2,700 total yards and 17 total touchdowns, it would be tempting to vault Scheelhaase into the top ten of our list.

    But we'll resist the urge, in part because the QB benefited from LeShoure and a pretty good offensive line, to boot. Scheelhaase's passing accuracy and decision-making need to improve in 2011 – and should, with another spring under his belt. Nevertheless – Big Ten opponents will have a year of film on his tendencies and talents and will return in 2011 with better schemes to stop Petrino's effective attack – now that LeShoure, who would have been our runaway pick for Big Ten Player of the Year, is gone. Scheelhaase will be asked to win games next year instead of simply managing them, and given what the Illini have to replace on defense, that'll be a tough task.

    See also: Nos. 25-21

    Tags: know your big ten

  8. 2011 Jan 18

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Top New and Returning Players, Nos. 25-21

    14,123 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Now that the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft has come and gone, let's take a quick look at the top 25 players returning to the Big Ten next year.

    Rankings are based on two criteria:

    1. You should be, well, pretty darn good

    2. The impact you can make on the game at your position. We rank QB at the top, elite defensive tackle right after that, rush end, anchor at left tackle, then shutdown corner, and so on. In other words: Wisconsin running backs may feel a bit slighted.


    Here's Nos. 25-21.

    No. 25 Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg: Surprised? Don't be. Vandenberg didn't have to play much at all in 2010 – after showing well as a freshman in 2009 – because Ricky Stanzi recovered from an injury and enjoyed a stellar 2010 campaign. But Vandenberg has all the tools – and then some – to match Stanzi's numbers in 2011. Because of massive graduation in the Big Ten and questions marks on other teams, Vandenberg should be among the best in the Big Ten.

    No. 24 Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams: This giant probably isn't returning for his senior season unless Jim Tressel had extracted a promise he would in exchange for playing in the Sugar Bowl. Adams is one of the Ohio State 5 – and also the league's best offensive tackle when he's on his game. Just when that will be in 2011 depends on the success of a NCAA appeal. He'd be ranked higher if not for the pending suspension.

    No. 23 Nebraska hybrid Daimion Stafford: Our first recruit on the list, a 6-foot-2, 210-pounder ball of thunder out of Chaffey (Calif.) Community College. We rank Stafford as NU's best recruit, an immediate impact guy at a hybrid safety/linebacker position. His senior film is eye-popping enough that USC and Florida came calling late the recruiting process. But Nebraska was there first, in part because of a long-distance connection to current Husker Taylor Martinez.

    No. 22 Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs: So it's a little blasphemous to put any player from Michigan's Swiss Cheese defense on the list, but we think once Kovacs – who finished with 116 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions – fits into a new scheme, he'll play just as well inside a more respectable unit. Undersized but smart, Kovacs was one of the few bright spots for Michigan in 2010.

    No. 21 Iowa running back Marcus Coker: Flashed a considerable amount of talent right at the end of the 2010 season – 622 yards and three touchdowns - especially in the Insight.com Bowl. Coker is a big dude at 6-foot, 230, but he carries it well, showing deceptively good speed. While Adam Robinson may end up returning to the Hawkeyes after partially blaming his academic problems and marijuana use on the after-effects of a concussion – we think Coker keeps the job for as long as he's in Iowa City.

    See also: Nos. 20-16

    Tags: big ten, know your big ten, daimion stafford

  9. 2010 Oct 21

    RECRUITING: Big Ten Update, Part 1

    334 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    HL's Samuel McKewon reviews the last month of recruiting for Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, MSU and Minny. What happens to the Gophers' class? Check it out with a 30-day free trial of Locker Pass!

    Tags: recruiting, know your big ten

  10. 2010 Sep 26

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: September Offenses

    234 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image


    In our latest installment of Know Your Big Ten, Samuel McKewon examines the strengths and weaknesses of Big Ten offenses through the first month of the season. Exclusive number-crunching and insight you're not getting anywhere else! Check it out with a 30-day free trial to Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: know your big ten

  11. 2010 Aug 24

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Rush Defenses, Top to Bottom

    403 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Which Big Ten programs make the grade against the run? Which get run over? And where does Nebraska fit in? Exclusive insight you won't get anywhere else! Check it out with a 30-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: know your big ten

  12. 2010 Aug 04

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Home Field Advantage

    508 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image


    HL's Samuel McKewon examines home field advantage in Big Ten stadiums. Which teams fare the best? Which team gets virtually no fan support, yet wins at a decent clip? And which team doesn't maximize its consistent, terrific fan support overall. Find out with a 30-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: know your big ten, memorial stadium

  13. 2010 Jul 30

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: NFL Success

    339 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image


    HL's Samuel McKewon examines which Big Ten teams have developed and sent the most players to the NFL over the last 15 years. Find out who's doing more with less...and who's doing less with more...with a 30-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: know your big ten

  14. 2010 Jul 22

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Non-Conference Nightmares

    354 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The Big Ten Conference football teams don’t often risk much in their non-conference schedules, as they’ve...

    HL's Samuel McKewon takes a look. You can too with a 30-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: know your big ten, big ten

  15. 2010 Jul 20

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Seven Recruiting Hot Beds

    825 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image


    Big Ten Country doesn't have a one-stop shop like Texas, but it does have plenty of Division I college football players. Here's seven spots to watch as the Nebraska coaching staff reorients some of its recruiting strategy to the Rust Belt. Tons of good of players to be found!

    Tags: know your big ten, big ten, recruiting

  16. 2010 Jul 09

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Big Ten Graduate Schools

    519 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Today’s Know Your Big Ten segment focuses on something a little different: Grad school rankings in medicine, law and business. As smart Husker fans know, the move to the Big Ten is not...

    Tags: know your big ten, big ten

  17. 2010 Jul 07

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Recruiting and Development

    430 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image


    Husker Locker's Samuel McKewon examines the recruiting rankings of each Big Ten program over the last five years and arrives at several surprising conclusions. Which programs have underachieved? Which have done more with less? And where does Nebraska fit in? Analysis you need now before anyone else has it. Be ready for the Big Ten! Know Your Big Ten with a 30-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: know your big ten, big ten

  18. 2010 Jul 02

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: Prolific Offenses

    407 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image


    Samuel McKewon examines trends in Big Ten offenses over the last five years. Which teams fill up the gas tank on the running game? Which pass it all over the yard? And which power makes neither list? The results may surprise you. Insight you won't get anywhere else! Check it out with a Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: know your big ten, locker pass

  19. 2010 Jun 29

    KNOW YOUR BIG TEN: The Game-Changer Index

    719 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image


    Exclusive analysis and insight you won't get anywhere else! HL's Samuel McKewon breaks down why certain teams in the Big Ten have been more successful over the last year than others: The Game-Changer Index. Check it out with a Husker Locker Pass! A 30-day free trial!

    Tags: know your big ten, locker pass

twitter
Facebook
Click here for our FREE daily podcast.

Advertisement

Great Husker Merchandise and Video. Best of Big Red. Osborne Family Enterprises
Husker Locker - Blogged Paperblog Web Directory
 

Home > Blogs > Official Husker Locker Blog > Search