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2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Maryland Terrapins

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

william likely

Maryland is just 20-30 under Head Coach Randy Edsall, but their third place showing in the Big Ten East in 2014 (7-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play) was their best performance in his four seasons at the helm. The Terrapins enter their second season in the Big Ten minus star receiver Stefon Diggs, and disruptive defensive lineman Andre Monroe, but they return a number of intriguing talents. Unfortunately for the Terps, they’ll be hard-pressed to even duplicate last year’s efforts in an increasingly competitive division. Here’s a look at their top, draft-eligible talent heading into the fall. (Asterisks denote underclassmen)


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

defensive tackle Maliek Collins (7) of the Nebraska Cornhuskers

By their second season in the Big Ten, the Nebraska Cornhuskers had earned a berth in the conference championship game. Head Coach Bo Pelini’s 2012 team was blown out by Wisconsin that night, and the Huskers dropped a number of key conference matchups over the next two seasons. Pelini has been fired and replaced by longtime Oregon State head man Mike Riley. Riley’s hiring came as a surprise for a couple of reasons. For one, he seemed like a lifer with the Beavers; and for two, while Riley’s teams had gone 85-66 since he returned from a brief stint in the NFL, he was just 6-12 in Pac 12 play over the past two seasons. Still, the veteran coach maintained a competitive program where a perennial doormat had resided in the past, and the general feeling is that he will attract a higher quality of recruits at his new post. (read more…)


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

Northwestern defensive back Nick VanHoose (23) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) during the fourth quarter an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. Penn State won 39-28. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pat Fitzgerald is entering his tenth year as head coach of the Northwestern Wildcats, and for the first time in his career, his team is coming off of back-to-back losing seasons. The former Northwestern linebacker has led the Wildcats to a 60-53 record during the course of his coaching stint, but a deeper look reveals that his teams are a harrowing 7-27 against Big Ten heavyweights Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Prior to 2013, Northwestern had been to five straight bowl games under Fitzgerald, but came away with just one win. While nobody is expecting national championship trophies in Evanston, Fitzgerald may not survive another losing season, and he’s likely to be relying on freshmen starters at quarterback, running back and left tackle to help rescue him. Here’s a look at the draft-eligible Wildcats returning for the 2015 season. (Asterisks denote underclassmen) 


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Bowling Green Falcons

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

matt johnson

The Bowling Green Falcons lost one of their top receiving targets just over a month before the 2014 season kicked off, then lost their starting quarterback one game into the year. The team still rebounded to win eight games and earn a spot in the MAC Championship Game, and while they were blown out in a rematch against Northern Illinois, the Falcons pulled off a victory over South Alabama in the Camellia Bowl. Bowling Green gets its QB back for 2015, and has some other intriguing talent returning as well. Here’s a look at the draft-eligibles suiting up for BG this season. (Asterisks denote underclassmen)


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

vangelo bentley

For the first time in three seasons under Head Coach Tim Beckman, the Fighting Illini of Illinois achieved bowl eligibility in 2014. The team managed six regular season wins despite enduring an injury to starting quarterback Wes Lunt, and a stretch in which they dropped five of six games. Late November wins over Penn State and Northwestern got the Illini into the Heart of Dallas Bowl where they lost 35-18 to Louisiana Tech. Things didn’t get easier for Beckman after the season, as a number of former players from both Illinois, and his previous post at Toledo, accused the coach of rushing athletes back from injury, harassment, and threats to take away scholarships. Beckman has weathered the storm for now, but his 12-25 record in Champaign warmed up his seat even before the unflattering picture of his character emerged. The Illini have some decent talent on the roster, but (read more…)


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Michigan Wolverines

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

derrickgreen

Michigan began the Brady Hoke era with an 11-2 record that included a victory over Ohio State, and a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech. But over the next three seasons, the Wolverines managed to go just 20-18, dropped three games to the Buckeyes, lost both bowl appearances, and even failed to muster the six wins needed for postseason eligibility last season. Enter Jim Harbaugh, a true “Michigan Man,” who’s motivational stylings figure to play better in the college ranks than they did in the NFL. For Harbaugh, a former Michigan quarterback, this gig is the “dream job” in the same way Ohio State was for Urban Meyer. Harbaugh will be counted on to improve the team’s disappointing quarterback play, revive the stagnant player development, and put the Wolverines back in contention for Big Ten titles and college football playoff berths. Here’s a look at the draft-eligible talent he’ll have (read more…)


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Michigan State Spartans

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

jack conklin

Michigan State and Head Coach Mark Dantonio were riding high after following the 2013 regular season with Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl victories, but the Spartans were humbled early last year in a 19-point loss to Oregon on the road. Dantonio and his crew rattled off six wins in a row, but then took a second loss on the chin at home against Ohio State. Sparty can take some solace in the fact that his only defeats came at the hands of the National Championship Game participants, and that State also managed to squeak out a bowl win against Big 12 co-champion Baylor. So, despite the losses of Jeremy Langford, Tony Lippett and Trae Waynes to the NFL, the returning Spartans should once again compete for a conference title and a top ten national ranking. Here’s a look at Michigan State’s top draft-eligible talent for the coming season. (Asterisks (read more…)


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Written by Justin Higdon on July 14, 2015

cardale jones throw

After losing their starting quarterback to an injury, and dropping an early-season home game to Virginia Tech, Ohio State seemed destined for a minor rebuild in 2014. Instead, the switches turned on for redshirt freshman QB J.T. Barrett and a number of young defensive starters, and the Buckeyes rattled off 13 straight victories en route to a National Championship. Now 38-3 in four seasons as head coach, Urban Meyer may have his most talented squad to date. He and his athletes enter 2015 with targets on their backs, but a breezy confidence in their skill and depth. Back in 2004, 14 Buckeyes were selected in a single draft. Another College Football Playoff run, and this group will challenge that record. Here’s a look at the stacked group of draft-eligibles suiting up in Columbus this fall. (Asterisks denote underclassmen)


Summer Scouting: Corey Robinson, WR, Notre Dame

Written by Bryan Perez on July 14, 2015

robinsonND

The ‘dog days of summer’ is my favorite time of year to scout players. It’s the most honest phase of the scouting process, as “group think” has yet to take shape and the opinions you form are free from the “final answer” pressure.

When I scout players during the summer, I use a smaller sample size of film that I combine with background research about the prospect’s career and character. I never place a grade on a player during this round of evaluations, but there are times when I get that “gut feeling” about a guy and his likely ascent up the draft board. So far this summer, the player who has impressed me the most is Notre Dame’s Junior WR Corey Robinson.

Robinson enters the 2015 season as the likely No. 2 receiver for the Fighting Irish, but in my opinion, he has a chance to become the team’s best (read more…)


Early 2016 NFL Draft All-Big Ten Offensive Prospect Team

Written by Chris Ross on June 21, 2015

Aug 30, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive linesman Taylor Decker (68) blocks Navy Midshipmen defensive end Paul Quessenberry (45) during the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Ohio State Buckeyes defeated Navy Midshipmen 34-17.Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten might not put out as many NFL-caliber players on a yearly basis as the SEC but make no mistake, the conference boasts plenty of talent at a few key positions. A few players that figure to be among the best at their respective positions in the 2016 NFL Draft will come from the Big Ten, and many of these players should be very fun to watch during the 2015 season. The players on this list may or may not be held in high regard by the time the draft actually rolls around, but this list should provide a good idea of which players in the conference have legitimate NFL ability. Without further ado, here is an early All-Big Ten 2016 NFL Draft prospect team.

QB: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State

This one was a toss-up as the Big Ten could have as many as three signal-callers go in (read more…)


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