1. Braxton Miller-Ohio State QB: Heisman candidate and top player in Big 10. This will be Miller’s 4th year to start and should be a fantastic finish for the 6-2, 235 QB from Huber Heights, Ohio. Miller ran the 40 in the 4.4s when he came to Columbus, but he has gained 50 pounds of muscle since that time. He has over 5,000 passing yards and over 3,000 rushing yards so far for the Buckeyes. Ohio State will need Miller to stay healthy to make it to the playoffs, but they have a good shot.
2. Melvin Gordon -Wisconsin RB: Only Todd Gurley is better at Running Back than Gordon, in my opinion. He is 6-1, 210 with excellent speed and power. Gordon averaged a very impressive 7.81 yards on 206 carries for 1,609 yards and 12 TDs. He managed all of that while splitting time with the other Badger outstanding Running Back James White who was just drafted by the New England Patriots.
3. Devin Funchess-Michigan WR: Funchess is a budding star at Wide Receiver after switching from Tight End. He is 6-5, 235 and runs in the 4.4s supposedly. He had 49 catches last season for 748 yards and 6 TDs, after catching 15 passes as a freshman. There’s no doubt this will be the last season in Ann Arbor for Funchess and Dorial Green-Beckham going mental will only add to Funchess’ bank account as he becomes the top big WR available. I am not ready to put the ‘another Calvin Johnson’ label on him but he has similar size and possibly speed.
4. Randy Gregory- Nebraska DE: The Huskers have been known for great Defensive Linemen over the years and Gregory definitely fills the bill here. Gregory is a big Defensive End at 6-6, 255 originally from Fishers, Indiana and signed with Purdue. He wound up at Arizona Western JC before coming to Nebraska and he had a fantastic season in 2013. He wound up with 65 tackles, 16 of those for losses and 9.5 sacks. He has had 1 fumble recovery and an interception return for a 33 yard TD. Expect Gregory to have a monster year for the Cornhuskers and become sort of a house hold name. He definitely has a bright future ahead of him.
5. Shilique Calhoun -Michigan State DE: The Spartans had one of the nation’s great defenses a year ago and Calhoun was one of their better players. Calhoun is a 6-4, 250 dominating Defensive End from Middletown, New Jersey. In 2013, Calhoun had 37 tackles and 14 for losses and 7.5 sacks. What made Calhoun really stand out was his 3 TDs with returns. He had 2 fumble returns for scores and another was an interception return for a 56 yard TD. Calhoun will be a junior next season but should declare for NFL draft.
6. Ameer Abdullah- Nebraska RB: Abdullah is one of the more exciting players in the entire country with explosive speed and moves. He’s a bit undersized at 5-9, 190, but he is a very dangerous player for the Huskers and compares favorably with the tailbacks of old. Abdullah ran for 1,690 yards in 2013 and has almost 3000 career rushing yards. Abdullah is also a good receiver out of the backfield and a good return man having 1 punt return for a score. Somehow, the Cornhuskers stole him out of SEC territory and Homewood, Alabama, and he is definitely worth the hype he would be receiving if he had stayed in SEC country.
7. Christian Hackenberg-PSU QB: Hackenberg was an 18 year old freshman last season for the Nittany Lions and he threw for 2,955 yards and 20 TDs. Hackenberg is 6-4, 220 and a former standout 5 star recruit out of Palmyra, Virginia. Penn State coach, Bill O’Brien left to take the Texans job and the Lions hired James Franklin. It will be Hackenberg’s 3rd new offense in 3 years but he has 2 years to master and should do well. Hackenberg is very cool and calm under pressure and should do nothing but continue to improve with age and experience. The biggest problem could be the lack of depth and talent surrounding Hackenberg on the Penn State roster. Franklin is a big time coach and should have the Nittany Lions running on all cylinders from day one.
8. Kurtis Drummond- Michigan State: Hard hitting safety that returns for his senior season and he should be incredible again. Drummond is 6-1, 200 and from Masury, Ohio and supposedly the Buckeyes did not offer him. He had 4 interceptions in 2013 and returned 1 for a TD. Drummond was second on the team in tackles last season with 91 and will be a team leader again this season in more ways that one. Drummond also had 3.5 tackles for losses and 6 passes broken up.
9. Theiren Cockran- Minnesota DE: At 6-6, 240 the junior to be from Homestead, Florida is just now starting to come into his own. Cockran had 30 tackles in 2013 with 10 tackles for losses and 7.5 sacks. He also broke up 2 passes, hurried the QB 3 more times plus forced a very impressive 4 total fumbles. Cockran is obviously a tall kid with rather intriguing potential much along the lines of Randy Gregory. He can be a real force coming off the edge and should be one of the Big 10’s best in 2014.
10. Jeremy Langford- Michigan State RB: Langford is the Spartans top offensive weapon that rushed for 1,422 yards in 2013 and 18 TDs. Also a good receiver out of the backfield with 28 catches and another TD. Langford, 6-0, 205, is a tough inside runner and he possesses good speed. Rushed for over 100 yards in 8 straight games last season in what was his breakout season. He’s receiving some talk as a Heisman candidate but is a little behind the pack. Still, Langford is a tough, solid player and should be a leader for the Spartans this season as they try to repeat as Big 10 champions.
11. Joey Bosa- Ohio State DE: This 6-6, 275 Fort Lauderdale product was a very impressive freshman a year ago for the Buckeyes. Bosa was a highly rated recruit out of St Thomas Aquinas High School. He had 44 tackles, 13.5 for losses and 7.5 sacks. He’s a big, physical kid that will only get bigger and better as he matures. The entire Ohio State Buckeye Defensive Line returns and they were really young a year ago. Expect a tough battle when trying to run against this front four and expect guys like Bosa to get some heavy pressure on the QB.
12. Taiwan Jones- Michigan State LB: Jones played OLB last season but moves to the middle this year to take over for graduated Max Bullough. Taiwan Jones is 6-3, 250 and registered 67 tackles with 7 tackles for losses a year ago. Look for the Spartans to have one of the top defenses in the country again and for Jones to be one of their top players. We will find out when the Spartans travel to Oregon to take on the Ducks if Jones is an adequate or better MLB for them. He has the size, speed and athletic ability to be a monster there, but it takes instincts as well.
13. Brandon Scherff- Iowa OT: Big Brandon Scherff at 6-5, 320 will be a 4 year starter in the Offensive Line for the Hawkeyes and most of those starts were at Left Tackle. All Conference last season and gained some mention as All American. Should be pretty popular with NFL scouts next year. He’s just the big, typical Offensive Linemen from the Midwest that barring injury will play a long time on Sundays.
14. Chi Chi Ariguzo- Northwestern LB: Ariguzo was Northwestern’s second leading tackler in 2013 with 106 tackles. Chi Chi also had 4 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery. He also had 6 tackles for losses and 2 sacks. Ariguzo is 6-3, 235 and originally from Gahanna, Ohio. Northwestern had a rough season in 2013 but should rebound nicely in 2014 and the defense led by Ariguzo should be solid as usual.
David Cobb- Minnesota RB
Tevin Coleman- Indiana RB
Nate Sudfield- Indiana QB