As teams continue preparing for the upcoming season, here are some players to watch who will be big names in the Big Ten in 2015.
March 03, 2015
1 of 10AP Photo/Ric Tapia | Icon Sportswire via AP Images
Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB
The most compelling storyline of the college football offseason centered on who would win Ohio State's starting quarterback job. With Braxton Miller moving to h-back, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones will compete for the right to run the Buckeyes' first-team offense. Jones led Ohio State to a national title, but Barrett flashed immense potential during the regular season.
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Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State DE
Calhoun enters his final season as one of the lynchpins of Michigan State's stellar defense. The defensive lineman is a menace in the backfield as evidenced by his eight sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2014.
3 of 10Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Corey Clement, Wisconsin RB
Clement ran for over six yards per carry and nine touchdowns last season when spelling for Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon. With Gordon off to the NFL, Clement is set up to become the latest in the long line of successful Wisconsin running backs.
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Joey Bosa, Ohio State DE
Bosa was an integral part of the Ohio State defense that limited Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and shut out Wisconsin. The rising junior has 21 sacks in two seasons, and his knack for forcing fumbles coming off the edge continues to make him a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.
5 of 10Jeff Haynes/Sports Illustrated
Christian Hackenberg, Penn State QB
Hackenberg struggled last season in his first year under James Franklin and behind a shaky offensive. But the Nittany Lions' signal caller shined when he started as a true freshman, and another year under Franklin's tutelage in addition to much needed improvements in protection should help to bring out the talent in the former five-star recruit.
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Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB
Elliott was last seen bowling over Oregon defenders in a dominant performance in Ohio State's national championship win. The rising junior ran for over 200 yards in each of the Buckeyes' last three games of 2014, and he could reach 2,000 yards this year if Meyer goes to him early and often.
7 of 10Andrew Hancock/Sports Illustrated
Connor Cook, Michigan State QB
Cook has helped the Spartans go 23-3 over the last two season, including wins in the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl. He likely would have been the No. 3 quarterback in this year's draft class. Instead Cook's return to East Lansing makes Michigan State the biggest threat to Ohio State for the Big Ten title.
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Darron Lee, Ohio State LB
Lee returned from an injury that ended his freshman season to become a vital part of the Buckeyes' defense last year. His athleticism made him a threat in coverage or in the backfield, and the young linebacker isn't afraid to hit either.
9 of 10Jason Plotkin/Daily Record/Sunday News/AP
Anthony Zettel, Penn State DT
Zettel returns to Happy Valley for another season despite drawing the attention of NFL scouts with his play in 2014. The defensive lineman recorded eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss. His ability to wreak havoc in the backfield will be key in a conference loaded with talent at quarterback and running back.
10 of 10Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Taylor Decker, Ohio State OT
Decker is an absolute load along the offensive line for the Buckeyes. He not only paved the way for Ezekiel Elliott's late-season exploits, but he was also able to keep all three of Ohio State's quarterbacks relatively clean in the pocket. Decker's dominance on the line should help the Buckeyes' high-powered offense continue to shine this fall.
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