By Santiago Rubio (Gráficosports.com)
The Big Ten conference is one of the most competitive in college football, counting each year with teams that play intensively, showing that it is packed with talent, displaying a variety of personalities and playing styles. These are the Big Ten players to watch for the 2020 season.
10- Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State. Considered by some experts as the best tight end of his class, Freiermuth is a complete player with great passing ability and solid blocking, last year he accumulated 507 yards and 7 touchdowns.
9- Journey Brown, RB, Penn State. The junior running back consolidated as Penn State’s number one running back in 2019, starting ten of the thirteen games played by the Nittany Lions, accumulating 1,024 total yards and 13 touchdowns, and in the Cotton Bowl, played against Memphis, he ran for 202 yards, breaking Saquon Barkley’s record (194 yds) in a bowl game in Penn State history.
8- Wyatt Davis, OL, Ohio St. Considered one of the best interior linemen in the country, he was named All-American in 2019. Davis helped make the Buckeyes’ offense the most productive in points per game (46.9) and the fourth-best rushing offense (266 yds per game) to earn a place in the College Football Playoff at the end of an undefeated regular season (13-0).
7- Eric Burrell, S, Wisconsin. The Badgers safety is characterized by its excellent pass coverage, he has the inertia of an outstanding 2019 season in which he registered 34 individual tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 deflected passes and 2 forced fumble. Burrell, entering his junior year, will be a Wisconsin defense leader who will play this season with the desire of taking away the Big Ten crown from Ohio State.
6- Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State. In 2019 Olave was the Buckeyes’ receiver leader in yards (849), yards per reception (17.4) and touchdowns (12), in 2020 he will seek to further improve his numbers for coach Ryan Day’s team to clinch one more conference title.
5- Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State. Parsons was considered the best in his position last year, was named All-American thanks to his great ability to pressure the QB and his precision against the run, Parsons recorded 52 individual tackles, 17 tackles for loss and forced 4 fumbles.
4. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue. When he’s healthy, Rondale is one of the most spectacular players to watch and his playing style attracts attention, in 2019 he played only 4 games due an injury, however, this year he is expected to be one of the best receivers in the country Thanks also to his starting QB, Jack Plummer, who will report healthy and ready to start this season, since, like Moore, he missed several games due to injury. Rondale is a very explosive player who has shown his quality since he shone in 2018, exceeding 1,200 yards, with 12 touchdowns catching the ball and two more on the ground, if he stays healthy, Moore could lead the Boilermakers to have a successful season and could even sneak into the conversation for the Heisman Trophy.
3- Tanner Morgan, QB Minnesota. My first QB on the list is Gophers junior player Tanner Morgan, who had a revelation year in 2019, breaking 11 school records and being selected All Big Ten as a second team. Morgan threw for 3,253 yards, 30 touchdowns, only 7 interceptions and completed 66% of his passes. Despite losing a key catcher like Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 161 pick), Morgan aims to have another great year commanding coach P.J Fleck’s offense.
2- Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota. The Gophers’ junior receiver consolidated a great season in 2019, establishing a great connection with his QB Tanner Morgan and Tyler Johnson, forming a pair of dangerous receivers, Bateman recorded enviable numbers: 60 receptions, 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. Some experts say there is no one who runs the routes better than him, and now with Tyler Johnson in the NFL, Bateman will see more passes thrown in his direction and is expected to exceed the impact numbers he achieved last year.
1- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State. The former Georgia QB is undoubtedly the best player in the Big Ten for this 2020 and has all the requirements to enter the conversation for the best player in the entire country, competing with names like Trevor Lawrence, Ja’Marr Chase, Derek Stingley and Chuba Hubbard. Fields took second place in last year’s Heisman Trophy votes, behind Joe Burrow. Justin made the Buckeyes offense the best in points per game, achieving an undefeated regular season with an invitation to the College Football Playoff and another Big Ten conference title. These were the numbers for Justin Fields in 2019 throwing the ball: 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, while on the ground he recorded 484 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ohio State is once again the favorite to win the Big Ten Championship and is largely due to Justin Fields, who is confident to lead Ohio State to another College Football Playoff appearance, and will have a similar or even better performance than last year to compete for the Heisman Trophy and unquestionably will be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.