Today’s Big Ten football links look at some players to keep an eye on around the conference this fall.
The Athletic college football writer Bruce Feldman released his annual “Freaks List,” where he ranks the players who have head-turning physical ability that impresses even seasoned football coaches. And there’s some Big Ten flavor on the list.
Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, the top recruit in 2016, highlights the list after an All-Big Ten campaign that featured 12 tackles for loss and six sacks. Feldman writes that things go beyond Gary’s on-field production. His testing numbers can be next level, too.
“The 6-foot-5 Gary is at the same weight he was at this time last year — 287 pounds — and his 40-yard dash time is the same at 4.57 seconds,” Feldman writes. “His 3-cone drill at 6.79 was a touch behind last year’s 6.70, although his time this year still would beat every defensive lineman at this year’s NFL scouting combine. His 4.22 pro agility shuttle time also would top every D-lineman at the combine. Next best was 4.32. Another really impressive feat: his 10-4 broad jump, which was 8 inches better than what he did a year ago.”
Iowa tight end Noah Fant joins Gary in the top 10 at No. 6, while Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa (No. 14), Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell (No. 21), Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (No. 24), Michigan defensive end Julian Welschof (No. 37), Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon (No. 38) and Indiana guard Wes Martin (No. 42) also make the list.
SB Nation’s Bill Connelly has been busy previewing all 100-plus teams in college football this offseason, and he recently wrapped up the Big Ten. To cap it off, he released power rankings.
The top tier isn’t too much of a surprise: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State. It was a little difficult to find the right order, though.
“Wisconsin’s close enough to the Buckeyes to belong in the same tier, and the others, nearly bunched perfectly together, aren’t that far away,” Connelly writes. “So there you go. Ohio State remains the obvious favorite to me in this conference, but there some impressive challengers.”
Bringing up the rear alone in its own tier: Illinois.