[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Wisconsin RB P.J.Hill
Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis
August 10, 2008
Top performers from unranked teams in the conference
CB, Jr., Illinois
The 6-foot, 204-pound lockdown corner was All--Big Ten last fall (fourinterceptions, 76 tackles). Physical and fast, he's projected as a futurefirst-round pick.
DE, Jr., Penn State
The 6'2" 264-pounder has matured into a dominant pass rusher. Flashingspeed off the corner, he led the Nittany Lions in sacks last year, with 121/2.
DE, Jr., Indiana
As a sophomore the 6'3" 275-pounder led the nation in sacks, with 16. Thisseason he'll be a force on a front seven that has five returning starters.
WR, Sr., Northwestern
A quarterback in high school who was tried at wideout and cornerback by theWildcats, he found his game as a receiver in 2007 with a team-high 66catches.
RB, Sr., Michigan State
Despite splitting time with Jehuu Caulcrick, he was the Big Ten's No. 3ground-gainer last season, picking up 1,447 yards while averaging 5.9 percarry.
Curtis Painter (below), QB, Sr., Purdue.
The fourth-year starter needs 3,030 yards to surpass former Boilermaker DrewBrees as the most prolific passer in Big Ten history.
James Laurinaitis, LB, Sr., Ohio State.
A two-time All-America and last year's Butkus Award winner, he led the Buckeyeswith 121 tackles, then passed on the NFL draft.
TRUE FRESHMAN TOWATCH
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State.
Look for the Buckeyes to use the 6'6", 235-pound super recruit like a youngTim Tebow.
COACH ON THERISE
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State.
In his first year he took over a team that had endured three straight losingseasons and led it to a 7--6 record and a bowl game.
COACH ON THE HOTSEAT
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa.
He was the toast of Iowa City when the Hawkeyes won 10 or more games in 2002,'03 and '04, but since then his teams are a pedestrian 19--18.
Michigan'sstarting quarterback will most likely be redshirt freshman STEVEN THREET, atransfer from Georgia Tech who moved up after Ryan Mallet transferred toArkansas.... Without a returning starter at running back, Iowa will rely on itsdeep corps of receivers, including long-ball threat ANDY BRODELL, who missedeight games in 2007 with a torn hamstring. But quarterback Jake CHRISTENSEN hasto improve on his 53.5% completion rate if the Hawkeyes expect to score morethan the Big Ten--low 18.5 points they averaged last fall.... New defensivecoordinator MIKE HANKWITZ should help a Northwestern unit that finished 89th inthe country in points allowed (31.0) and 75th against the run (167.1 yards). AtWisconsin in 2006, Hankwitz's D ranked third in scoring defense.... For coachTIM BREWSTER's spread offense to click, Minnesota has to get its running gameback on track. The Gophers would get a major boost if junior JAY THOMAS is allthe way back from right ACL surgery.