Recapping the Big Ten Tournament Championship

What a wild ride! The Michigan Wolverines have defended their 2017 Big Ten Tournament championship by knocking off No. 8 Purdue 75-66. Moe Wagner was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2018 Tournament. Michigan will ride a nine-game winning streak heading into the NCAA Tournament. Let’s recap how it all went down.

Thoughts on No. 5 Michigan

Recapping the Big Ten Tournament Championship

Zavier Simpson’s all-around play catapulted Michigan to its second straight Big Ten Tournament title (Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press).

The unsung hero of this game for the Wolverines is point guard Zavier Simpson. Simpson left his fingerprints all over the game, scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. Simpson dissected the Purdue interior defense, leading either Wagner or Jon Teske to the basket with pinpoint passes. Simpson’s patience and craftiness allowed him to penetrate the lane and find scoring opportunities in the paint.

Wagner, hindered by foul trouble most of the night, poured in 17 points on 63.6 percent shooting from the field. His perimeter game proved to be too great a mismatch for Purdue’s lumbersome big men. Wagner shot 50 percent from three-point range as Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms struggled to defend him on the perimeter.

The star of the first half for the Wolverines was sophomore center Jon Teske. Teske slowed down Haas after a fast start and poured in 12 first half points. He consistently found space in the interior of Purdue’s defense and feasted on easy dunks while working through the pick-and-roll. Teske ended the game with 14 points on six of nine shooting.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s consistent play on the wing was crucial throughout this tournament and will be critical moving forward into the big dance. Abdur-Rahkman has found his three point shot and that added dimension to his offensive game forces defenders to play him closer. This allows Abdur-Rahkman to work through high screens and gain easy access into the lane.

Abdur-Rahkman added 15 points on 50 percent shooting and recorded four assists. He knocked in three shots from beyond the arc as well.

One potential issue to note is that freshman forward Isaiah Livers went down early in the second half with a high ankle sprain. Thanks to the Big Ten Tournament being scheduled early, Livers will have more than a week to rest and recover. While Livers may only average four points per game, his aggressive on-ball defense is key for Coach John Beilein’s team.

Michigan’s stock heading into the NCAA Tournament should spike after their second Big Ten Tournament championship. According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, they entered the title game as a projected number five seed. That projection ought to increase to either a four seed or potentially a three seed.

thoughts on no. 3 Purdue

Recapping the Big Ten Tournament championship

Isaac Haas’s big game was not enough to save Purdue’s title hopes (Julie Jacobson/AP).

Purdue entered this contest having defeated Michigan twice during the regular season. Purdue is a senior-heavy team, rolling out four senior starters (with Carsen Edwards being a sophomore). Regardless of their experience, Purdue fell short of their goal of bringing a Big Ten Tournament championship home and enhancing their resume in the process.

Michigan’s strategy heading into the game was to concede the obvious height advantage to Haas and Haarms. Rather than double-team the big men in the post, Michigan focused on limiting Purdue’s open looks from three-point range. Purdue feasted on Penn State from behind the arc, making 52.4 percent of their attempts from three.

It was a different story against Michigan’s top 10 defense. Purdue only made four three-point attempts throughout the entire game. Michigan’s perimeter defense limited Big Ten first team All-American Carsen Edwards to 25 percent shooting from the field and 12 points. Edwards struggled to find clean looks from the perimeter all night.

Regardless of Michigan’s defensive strategy, Haas had himself a day. He poured in 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Dakota Mathias had difficulty finding space on the perimeter as well. Coach Matt Painter likes to run Mathias through numerous off-ball screens to free up the sharp-shooter. Michigan’s defensive communication and switching allowed the Wolverines to clamp down on these plays and contain Mathias throughout most of the game.

Purdue can only wait and see where the selection committee places them. The Boilermakers will most likely land a two seed or, at worst, a three seed.

Featured image by Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2018 Big Ten Tournament preview

The Big Ten made some headlines when they moved their tournament up a week in order to play at Madison Square Garden. This means the Big Ten Tournament will take place from February 28 through March 4. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said that this scheduling wasn’t healthy, with so many games having to be played a week earlier, so this may not be a trend.

Teams will get extra time off before Selection Sunday, which is important because there are still some teams trying to get to a number one seed and other teams trying to secure a bid to the field.

Overview

Regular season champion Michigan State will be one of the favorites to win the tournament. Ohio State tied for second with Purdue, but beat the Boilermakers head to head this season. The other big challenger will be Purdue, who has had a great season that has gotten them into the national spotlight.

The four seed is Nebraska, who is still on the outside looking in on the NCAA Tournament. Michigan, the reigning champion, is right behind them in the standings at number five, but the Wolverines are going to be in the Big Dance. Penn State is another team that is right on the bubble and needs to have a good showing in this tournament. They are seventh in the conference, but have some big wins this season.

Other than the teams listed, it would take a dramatic Cinderella run for the other teams to win the Big Ten Tournament, but crazier things have happened in March.

All-Tournament Team and MVP

The All-Tournament team is very dependent on who goes deep in a tournament. Who will be the best players in the Big Ten Tournament?

Big Ten Tournament Preview

Vincent Edwards (Photo by rivals.com)

Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue

Tony Carr, G, Penn State

Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State

Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State

Vincent Edwards, F, Purdue

MVP: Vincent Edwards

Darkhorse: Penn State

Big Ten Tournament preview

Tony Carr (Photo by roarlionsroar.com)

The Nittany Lions play Northwestern in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. While they split the regular season series with Northwestern, Penn State should be favored on the neutral court. They have lost their last three games, but have proven the doubters wrong this season.

Penn State’s path to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament is unique. If they beat Northwestern, they will play Ohio State. They have beaten the Buckeyes both times they have played. After that, their likely opponent would be Purdue. While the Boilermakers are a very good team, Penn State lost by just three points in their first matchup. If Tony Carr gets hot, and gets some decent help, Penn State will be hard to beat.

While they aren’t one of the favorites to win the tournament, Penn State is a team that nobody wants to play.

Champion: Purdue

Purdue had a bad three game skid, but otherwise had a fantastic conference season that got them the third seed in the tournament. They lost the three games by a total of eight points. The three seed comes with a two round bye, which puts the Boilermakers in the quarterfinals.

Their first round game will not be tough and Purdue should blow past their opponent. If the rest of the bracket holds to form, they will have to play Ohio State and Michigan State in their other two games. The Boilermakers did lose to both of these teams in the regular season, but they are clearly the most battle-tested team in the Big Ten. If they play to their potential, they will win the tournament.

They have just about everything a team needs to be good in March: Size, shooting, good guard play and experience. Vincent Edwards can be the x-factor for the Boilermakers. He missed two games with an injury, but returned to play on senior day. With his 14.7 points, 7.6 and 3.0 assists per game, Edwards is a versatile, matchup nightmare.

 

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology February 12

The NCAA selection committee released their top 16 seeds this Saturday to give a look into how they would seed the teams right now. This can officially put everyone in the mindset for March Madness. Here is the latest NCAA Tournament bracketology. Click to zoom.

 

First four out: SMU, Nebraska, St. Bonaventure, Utah

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology 2/5/18

Only a month and a half until March Madness begins. Teams are about half way through their conference schedules and are jockeying for position. Here is the latest NCAA Tournament bracketology. Click to zoom.

First four out: UCLA, SMU, Nebraska, Marquette

 

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology 1/29/18

Only a month and a half until March Madness begins. Teams are about half way through their conference schedules and are jockeying for position. The NCAA Tournament is just over two months away. Here is the latest NCAA Tournament bracketology. Click to zoom.

 

First four out: Syracuse, Missouri, Western Kentucky, Maryland

Next four out: Notre Dame, South Carolina, Georgia, Washington

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NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl

WThe Foster Farms Bowl will feature the Arizona Wildcats and the Purdue Boilermakers. These programs don’t produce a lot of NFL talent, but there are still some draft prospects to watch in this game. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl:

Arizona Wildcats

Jace Whittaker, CB

Whittaker has really stepped up this season for Arizona. The junior has three interceptions and 10 passes defended. One of his three interceptions was returned for a touchdown. He doesn’t make a lot of tackles, despite being on the field for a lot of time.

At 5’10” and 180 pounds, he can cover in the slot and on the outside, although it may be a little tough to match up with bigger receivers. Adding strength is necessary to not get beat off the line of scrimmage. He may decide to go back to school for a year in an effort to improve his draft stock.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Nick Wilson, RB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl

Nick Wilson (Photo by arizona.edu)

Wilson is unique in that, he produced the most as a freshman when he had 1,375 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Now, as a senior, Wilson has rushed for 585 yards and six touchdowns. He has split carries with other backs during his time, which has made it hard to figure him out. In total, he has 3,016 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns at Arizona.

He has decent size at 5’10” and 208 pounds. Wilson has a chance to get drafted, but would do better if he can prove he can pass protect and catch passes out of the backfield better.

Projected draft range: 7th round-undrafted free agent

Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, S

Flannigan-Fowles is another junior from Arizona’s secondary who has some NFL Draft potential. This season he has 78 total tackles, three interceptions and two passes defended. He is a decent prospect, but would probably do better going back to school for another season.

The safety is 6’2″ and 205 pounds, which is good enough for the NFL. Playing on so bad of a defense won’t help his draft stock, but if he decides to return to school and improves the defense, his stock will also likely improve.

Projected draft range: 7th round-undrafted free agent

Purdue Boilermakers

Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl

Ja’Whaun Bentley (Photo by twitter.com)

Bentley is the only three-time captain in Purdue football history, which is a great accomplishment. This season he has 89 total tackles with 9.5 coming behind the line of scrimmage. He has added an interception, which was returned for a touchdown, three passes defended and two forced fumbles. In his career, Bentley has 264 total tackles with 27.5 of them going for a loss.

His size is good for the NFL level at 6’2″ and 260 pounds. He missed last game for undisclosed reasons, but is expected to play in this game.

Projected draft range: 7th round-undrafted free agent

 

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2017 Foster Farms Bowl preview

The Foster Farms Bowl involves two teams that exceeded expectations this season. Arizona and Purdue were not very highly though of, but both were able to make a bowl game. Here is the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl preview:

Arizona Wildcats (7-5)

2017 Foster Farms Bowl preview

Khalil Tate (Photo by dailynews.com)

Rich Rodriguez was able to get Arizona to seven wins this year by putting in Khalil Tate at quarterback. The Wildcats were able UCLA and Cal for their solid wins, which both came during their four game win streak. Given their preseason expectations, this season was a success.

The offense is high-powered, as usual, with 41.8 points per game. They are the third best rushing team in the country and average 324.4 yards per game. Khalil Tate leads the team with 1,353 rushing yards on the season and he didn’t even play every game this season. J.J. Taylor is the second leading rusher as a running back with 828 yards and five touchdowns.

Tate is the leading passer with 1,289 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. It isn’t a great passing attack, but Tate completes 61.4% of his passes. Shun Brown and Tony Ellison both have around 500 passing yards. Brown has five touchdowns, while Ellison has three.

Defense has been a huge issue for Arizona, as they give up 34.1 points per game. They rank 88th against the run and 121st against the pass. Lorenzo Burns leads the team and is tied for eighth in the country with five interceptions on the season. With the defense being so bad, forcing turnovers is key.

Purdue Boilermakers (6-6)

2017 Foster Farms Bowl preview

Markus Bailey (Photo by jconline.com)

Purdue has made their first bowl game since 2012 under first year head coach Jeff Brohm. They were able to beat Ohio, Missouri and Iowa for wins over bowl eligible teams. It has been a great turnaround so far and could be capped off nicely with a win in the bowl game.

The Boilermakers only score 24.3 points per game this season. Markell Jones and D.J. Knox both have over 400 rushing yards, with Jones having 480 and Knox having 460. Running the ball hasn’t been too easy for the Boilermakers, but both of these backs average over five yards a carry.

Elijah Sindelar has lead the team in passing with 1,703 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. The passing game also has its fair share of troubles. Anthony Mahoungou has 570 receiving yards and six touchdowns on the season to lead the team.

Their defense has really improved this season, allowing 19.3 points per game. They rank 30th against the run and 86th against the pass. Sophomore linebacker Markus Bailey stepped up this season with seven sacks. They have a good team defense with not too many standout players.

Prediction

Arizona was a good team when Tate played and they will prevail in this game with him at quarterback. Purdue’s defense is good, but they haven’t seen anything all season like Tate. It is strength against strength between Arizona’s offense and Purdue’s defense, but the Wildcats will prevail.

Arizona Wildcats 39 Purdue Boilermakers 24

 

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College basketball preseason top 25: 20-16

It is the end of October so that means college basketball is right around the corner. What teams should be looked at as the best of the best? This is the second installment in the top 25 rundown. For teams 25-21 click here.

20. St. Mary’s Gaels

College basketball preseason top 25

Jock Landale (Photo by zimbio.com)

St. Mary’s made the big dance for the first time since 2013 last season. There run ended in the round of 32, but it was a big step just to get back to the dance. With most of their scoring returning, the Gaels should make it to the second consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Leading scorer Jock Landale returns after averaging 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He will receive serious consideration for WCC Player of the Year. Calvin Hermanson is the second leading returning scorer and plays on the wing. He lights up the scoreboard, which is a theme for this team.Evan Fitzner is another returning starter in the frontcourt, who will start at power forward, even though he only played 15 minutes a game. He can stretch the floor as a three point shooter. Kyle Clark and Tanner Krebs will provide experience and depth.

Emmett Naar will be the sole point guard this season and brings back a good all around game. Starting at the two guard will be Cullen Neal who is a senior transfer from Ole Miss.This is his third college team as he played for three seasons at New Mexico before becoming a Rebel He has over 1,000 career points already and brings a lot of experience. They aren’t very deep at the guard spots so Jordan Ford, Tommy Kuhse and Kristers Zoriks will need to step up.

The Gaels have a good enough team to beat Gonzaga in the WCC and also do some damage in March.

19. Minnesota Golden Gophers

College basketball preseason top 25

Nate Mason (Photo by kare11.com)

Last season Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises in all of college basketball. They had eight wins two seasons ago and last year improved to 24 wins. They did end up losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but with a lot of players returning the Golden Gophers’ future looks bright.

Jordan Murphy and Reggie Lynch are two great inside players for Richard Pitino. Murphy is more of an inside scorer and rebounder, while Lynch is a great defender who blocks a lot of shots. Lynch was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season. Eric Curry played 19.9 minutes per game as a freshman and will have to eat up a lot of minutes again and be effective. Davonte Fitzgerald had a torn ACL last year, but is figuring to make impact this season.

The backcourt returns a lot of experience. The best player on the team is point guard Nate Mason. He averaged 15.2 points and five assists per game and is a great floor general. Amir Coffey is a lengthy wing who started all 33 games as a freshman and should improve in his second season. Dupree McBrayer is the best three point shooter on the team at 41.6% and played 27.8 minutes per game in his sophomore campaign last year. Not too many other guards play a lot of minutes so those three will need to stay out of foul trouble or the Golden Gophers will have to rely on freshmen.

While they likely won’t beat out Michigan State in the Big Ten, Minnesota will be a really solid team that will make another NCAA Tournament.

18. Louisville Cardinals

College basketball preseason top 25

David Padgett (Photo by thecardinalconnect.com)

Louisville got knocked out in the round of 32 last season, but a lot has happened since. Rick Pitino is out and they lost incoming star prospect Brian Bowen because of the Adidas scandal. The Cardinals still have a lot of good players returning, but David Padgett has a lot of work ahead of him coaching this team.

The Cardinals’ best player is Deng Adel, who is a good wing athlete. He does a little bit of everything for Louisville and will need to be the go to guy this season. Adel needs to improve his three point shooting and if he can, he will be one of the best players in the ACC. Anas Mahmoud and Raymond Spalding are the only returning interior player, who provide some experience, but they won’t wow anyone. They will be asked to defend, make open interior shots and rebound. For depth, their talented freshmen will need to step up. Malik Williams, Jordan Nwora and Lance Thomas need to provide an impact down low, while transfer Dwayne Sutton has to provide depth on the wing.

Quentin Snyder has been at Louisville for what seems like forever. He is the floor general that needs to be the leader of the team as they go through this difficult time. He averaged 12.4 points and 4.1 assists per game, which will need to improve this year. V.J. King was a great recruit who saw some minutes as a freshman, but will need to be a star for the Cardinals for the team to be successful. Depth will be a question as recruits need to step up and make a difference.

The Cardinals may not be eligible for the NCAA Tournament when the FBI investigation is all said and done, but Louisville has a talented roster that is deserving of being ranked.

17. Northwestern Wildcats

College basketball preseason top 25

Bryant McIntosh (photo by indystar.com)

Northwestern finally made the NCAA Tournament in 2017. They also got their first ever win and now are looking for more. The Wildcats return four players who averaged over 30 minutes per game last season and have good veteran leadership to rely on.

Dererk Pardon returns on the inside for Northwestern and with improvement can average a double double, even though he is a little undersized. Barret Benson will see an increased role this season after averaging eight minutes last season. Vic Law is a talented wing that can get to the basket and knock down threes. He also is the teams second leading rebounder. His defense is a game-changer. Gavin Skelly is a senior that will get minutes an help out more on the inside.

Senior point guard Bryant McIntosh can score and set up his teammates with 14.8 points and 5.2 assists per game. He will be flanked by shooting guard Scottie Lindsey. Lindsey will get to the basket and is the second leading returning scorer behind McIntosh. Isiah Brown will be asked to do more as a sophomore as the lone returning depth piece at the guard spot. Anthony Gaines is a freshman that will need to fill in some minutes for the Wildcats.

Back to back NCAA Tournaments is a probability for a team that took so long to get one appearance in the big dance.

16. Purdue Boilermakers

College basketball preseason top 25

Isaac Haas (Photo by draftexpress.com)

Purdue broke through to the Sweet 16 last season. They lost their double-double machine in Caleb Swanigan, but have a lot returning to help them be successful once again. The Boilermakers are coming off a big offseason of representing USA in the World University Games and came away with a silver medal.

The middle of the floor is anchored by Isaac Haas. He hasn’t been the prime time player yet in his Purdue career due to Swanigan and A.J. Hammons getting more minutes in years past. He will have to use his 7’2″ frame to score over shorter defenders and grab all the rebounds lost by the departure of Swanigan. At the four spot Vince Edwards is a very versatile player that can shoot the three and get to the basket. He is the perfect power forward for college basketball and averaged 12.6 points per game last season. Jacquil Taylor was redshirted last year due to injury and will need to provide depth.Matt Haarms is bigger than Haas and will back him up at center, while Eden Ewing and Aaron Wheeler will be asked to step in and provide depth.

Perimeter play is not something Purdue will be lacking. Carson Edwards, P.J. Thompson, Dakota Mathias and Ryan Cline all return. Carson Edwards is a great defender that had a good freshman season. Thompson, Mathias and Cline all knock down shots from deep. Mathias adds senior leadership and a good perimeter defender to the team. With these four players, the Boilermakers are in great hands.

The sky is the limit for this Purdue team even without Swanigan. Matt Painter will have this team ready for another run in March.

For teams 15-11: Click here.

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Most impactful transfers by position in college football 2017

The position that has the most transfers seemingly is quarterback. This leads a lot of lists of best transfers to focus on the quarterback position. While this list will cover the quarterback position, all offensive and defensive positions will also be covered. Here are the best transfers at each position:

QB: Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Stidham has just been named the starting quarterback at Auburn for the 2017 season. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he got significant playing time at Baylor two seasons ago. He then went to junior college before deciding to attend Auburn,

At Baylor Stidham threw for 1,265 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions in just ten games. He still has a lot to prove, but has some proven results. In his three games as a starter for the Bears he won two games, against Kansas State and Oklahoma State, and lost one, to Oklahoma.

Gus Malzahn has been looking for a quarterback ever since Nick Marshall graduated and Stidham may be the answer. Stidham will have a lot of talent around him and will be expected to lead the team to a good season in the difficult SEC West. The offense is built on running the ball, but he needs to complete passes in order to keep defenses honest.

RB: Chris James, Wisconsin

After spending some time in Pittsburgh, James has decided to follow in Paul Chryst’s footsteps and go to Wisconsin. He sat out last season and is ready to take on some of the heavy workload for Badger running backs.

In his two seasons as a Panther, James rushed for 690 yards on 4.8 yards per carry in limited action. He was stuck behind James Connor, one of Pitt’s best running backs of all time, for the majority of his time in Pittsburgh and never really had a chance to see too much action.

With an opening at running back this season, James will battle Bradrick Shaw for the starting job, but at Wisconsin a lot of running backs are fed the ball consistently. He will get touches and make some big plays for Wisconsin in the 2017 season.

WR: Jeff Badet, Oklahoma

Best college football transfers 2017

Jeff Badet (photo by nkytribune.com)

Badet was in a run heavy offense last season at Kentucky, but still had 670 yards and four touchdowns. His talent is unquestioned while his lack of production is explained by the system he was in and the quarterback play he had. He decided to leave Kentucky for a more pass-happy team in Oklahoma and did not have to sit out a year because he graduated.

He played three seasons for the Wildcats and has 1,385 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Badet did the most with his opportunities in Lexington and used his time as a Wildcat to get a degree and to move up to a bigger college football program.

Baker Mayfield has to be happy that Badet is on the team. A lot of his offensive weapons are now in the NFL. Tight end Mark Andrews and Badet will most likely be Mayfield’s main targets this season. If Mayfield puts up numbers like he has the past two seasons, Badet will be a huge beneficiary.

OL: Aaron Cochran, Oklahoma State

Cal is having a tumultuous offseason, but Cochran leaving for Oklahoma State is not usually brought up as a reason why. He was also considering Auburn and Texas Tech, but the former Bear decided that being a Cowboy was the best thing for him.

Cochran started 16 games at Cal and provides some good experience. At 6’8″ 350 pounds Cochran is a mammoth of a lineman.He will now leave Pac-12 play to go to the Big 12.

The reason why Cochran’s transfer will be so impactful is that he will be protecting Mason Rudolph and clearing holes for Justice Hill. If he does so effectively the Cowboys could find themselves in the running in the College Football Playoff come the end of the season.

DL: Scott Pagano, Oregon

Pagano got a National Championship with the Clemson Tigers last season and got a degree. What a year for Pagano. He goes from being a rotational guy for the Tigers to a guy who will have to produce more for the Ducks. He saw the writing on the wall in terms of playing time at Clemson and decided to transfer out to finish his last year of eligibility.

In his limited playing time Pagano recorded 20 tackles, two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss for the champs. Those stats don’t seem like much, but Pagano was sitting behind a bunch of great defensive line athletes at Clemson that will be good at the next level.

Oregon desperately needed a guy like Pagano, who has experience playing on a great team. The defense has to improve over last year where they ranked 126th in scoring, 121st against the rush and 113rd against the pass. His main objective will be to help the Ducks limit opponents’ rushing yards.

LB: Dakota Allen, Texas Tech

College football top transfers 2017

Dakota Allen (Photo by scout.com)

Does Dakota Allen really count as a transfer? Technically yes. He was at Texas Tech, got kicked out and then went to East Mississippi Community College to play JUCO football for a year. After his season at the JUCO level he was granted a waiver to return to Lubbock.

As a freshman at Texas Tech he demonstrated great potential with 87 total tackles, six tackles for loss and two interceptions. Things looked bright for his career before he was convicted of burglary. He had an impressive season at EMCC and was featured on “Last Chance U”, where he showed the world how much he had changed.

Texas Tech needs all the talent they can get on their defense and they might need to improve to save coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job. They ranked 128th in scoring and gave up a whopping 43.5 points per game. That is an embarrassing number of points allowed, even if they do put up a lot of points themselves. Allen has already become a leader on the team and could be the key to improving the defense.

DB: T.J. Jallow, Purdue

Jallow is yet another player coming from “Last Chance U” at EMCC. Purdue got a great player that will start from day one. The Boilermakers were able to beat out the likes of Louisville and Kansas for Jallow’s services.

He spent two seasons at EMCC, but really proved himself this past season. Jallow recorded 43 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two fumbles recovered and seven pass break ups. He plays a physical style from his safety position, that should rub off on the rest of the team.

Purdue was solid against the pass last season, but has a spot open for Jallow to start at safety. If the pass defense can stay at a similar level and the run defense can improve, Purdue will be a much better team. If it all goes their way, they could go bowling for the first time since 2012 in Jeff Brohm’s first year as head coach. It may not be likely, but is possible.

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National Signing Day 2017: Big Ten

The Big Ten was called the best conference by many in the regular season, but faltered in Bowl Season. They will look to pick back up their winning ways on signing day. Big Ten Signing Day should be eventful. This page will be updated as the day goes on. Here is how the Big Ten looks:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Signees: 21, 5*: 2, 4*: 17, 3*: 2, Other: 0

The Buckeyes had a good secondary last season, but some players have left for the NFL. They have two of the best secondary players in the country coming in as five-stars, with Shaun Wade and Jeffrey Okudah. Their class is loaded with players that are top ten in their positions. The class can get even better as the day goes on, but is already elite.

Top Prospects Signed: CB Shaun Wade (5*), S Jeffrey Okudah (5*)

2. Michigan Wolverines

Commitments: 27, 5*: 0, 4*: 25, 3*: 2, Other: 0

Jim Harbaugh has totally revamped Michigan recruiting in his time in Ann Arbor. They don’t have a lot of play-makers that they desperately need, but they did sign a good receiver in Donovan Peoples-Jones. Quarterback Dylan McCaffrey should ring a bell for college football fans, as he is the brother of Christian, but is a good player himself. Michigan has a chance to move up if they can get some key signees today.

Top Prospects Signed: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (4*), C Cesar Ruiz (4*)

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

Commitments: 19, 5*: 0, 4*: 9, 3*: 10, Other: 0

Penn State has followed up their Rose Bowl season with a good recruiting class. The class is balanced overall, but quarterback Sean Clifford is the best player in the class. He was the most accurate quarterback at the elite 11 camp last summer. Fellow four-star C.J. Thorpe will likely get a chance to play early, as Penn State’s offensive line was banged up a lot this season and isn’t the greatest anyways.

Top Prospects Signed: QB Sean Clifford (4*), OG C.J. Thorpe (4*)

4. Maryland Terrapins

Commitments: 22, 5*: 0, 4*: 7, 3*: 14, Other: 1

D.J. Durkin has put together a great class for Maryland to build on. His approach of targeting New Jersey and the D.C. area has worked. Markquese Bell is an athlete who will likely make an impact early in his career. Running back Anthony McFarland should also be a play-maker for the Terrapins in due time as well. Maryland should take a few steps forward in coming years.

Top Prospects Signed: ATH Markquese Bell (4*), RB Anthony McFarland (4*)

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Commitments: 16, 5*: 0, 4*: 7, 3*: 9, Other: 0

The Cornhuskers have a lot of good offensive prospects coming in this season. Two four-star wide receiver prospects, Tyjon Lindsey and Keyshawn Johnson Jr., and a four-star quarterback, Tristan Gebbia, are the best players for Nebraska so far. Johnson is son of former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson. Nebraska is building off of a good season in 2016.

Top Prospects Signed: WR Tyon Lindsey (4*), QB Tristan Gebbia (4*)

6. Iowa Hawkeyes

Commitments: 17, 5*: 0, 4*: 2, 3*: 15, Other: 0

Iowa has a great player in this class in A.J. Epenesa at the defensive end position. He can compete for a starting job immediately. Tristan Wirfs is also going to Iowa as a very good offensive tackle prospect. Iowa should be good in the trenches again for years to come.

Top Prospects Signed: DE A.J. Epenesa (4*), OT Mark Kallenberger (4*)

7. Michigan State Spartans

Commitments: 20, 5*:0, 4*: 5, 3*: 15, Other: 0

Wide receiver Hunter Rison is already enrolled in school and gives Michigan State a much needed play-maker although they do have some promising ones currently on the roster. Also committed to the Spartans is a good tight end prospect in Matt Dotson. Michigan State has a well-balanced class that should help them get back to the top of the Big Ten.

Top Prospects Signed: OG Kevin Jarvis (4*), LB Antjuan Simmons (4*)

8. Illinois Illini

Commitments: 23, 5*: 0, 4: 2, 3*: 18, Other: 3

Lovie Smith is doing a good job recruiting to build Illinois back up. They focused a lot on signing wide receivers and defense. Ricky Smalling is a good pass-catcher, but they have several other wide receiver commits if he doesn’t pan out. Kendrick Green is gonna help on the trenches of the defensive line at tackle.

Top Prospects Signed: WR Ricky Smalling (4*), OT Larry Boyd (4*)

9. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Signees: 23, 5*: 0, 4*: 3, 3*: 20, Other: 0

Rutgers might be in the bottom of the Big Ten standings a lot, but their recruiting is getting better. Micah Clark will be a good tackle, with the chance to earn early playing time. Bo Melton should be a good play-maker for the Scarlet Knights at wide receiver, who also could see the field early.

Top Prospects Signed: OT Micah Clark (4*), LB Tyshon Fogg (4*)

10. Wisconsin Badgers

Commitments: 18, 5*: 0, 4*: 4, 3*: 12, Other: 2

It’s not usual to see the Badgers this low in the rankings, but they do have some solid players to look out for. Offensive line is always important to Wisconsin and they have guard Kayden Lyles looking to be the next great lineman for them. Andrew Van Ginkel should help the pass rush as a defensive end down the road.

Top Prospects Signed: OG Kayden Lyles (4*), OT Taylor Breach (4*)

11. Northwestern Wildcats

Commitments: 20, 5*:0, 4*:2, 3*: 17, Other: 1

Northwestern has been a solid program in the Big Ten for the past couple of seasons under Pat Fitzgerald, but they don’t have the greatest recruiting class yet. Earnest Brown and Trevor Kent are a pair of defensive end prospects that should bolster depth on the defensive line immediately.

Top Prospects Signed: DE Earnest Brown (4*), S Austin Hiller (4*)

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Commitments: 25, 5*: 0, 4*: 0, 3*: 18, Other: 7

P.J. Fleck has his work cut out for him at Minnesota. They don’t have a lot to work with in this class, but can still add to it. Quarterback Tanner Morgan is the prized recruit at the moment and will love to work with Fleck. Tight end Jacob Paulson will be a nice target for Morgan down the road.

Top Prospects Signed: QB Neil McLaurin (3*), WR Chris Autman-Bell (3*)

13. Indiana Hoosiers

Commitments: 23, 5*: 0, 4*:1, 3*: 20, Other: 2

Indiana, like Minnesota, has a lot of turmoil in the program with Kevin Wilson being fired abruptly. They did not put together a great recruiting class. Despite the turmoil they have a balanced class of offensive and defensive prospects. Defensive tackle Juan Harris is already enrolled, which should help him see the field early. Linebacker Thomas Allen should help boost an unimpressive defense.

Top Prospects Signed: ATH Juwan Burgess (4*), S Bryant Fitzgerald (3*)

14. Purdue Boilermakers

Commitments: 21, 5*: 0, 4*:0, 3*: 19, Other: 2

Purdue doesn’t seem like they will be able to turn things around any time soon. Corner back T.J. Jallow was a huge win for Purdue and he may just be seen on Last Chance U season 2. They hit the JuCo trail hard and also got offensive tackle Ethan Smart, who also played JuCo ball in Mississippi.

Top Prospects Signed: CB T.J. Jallow (3*), ATH Tyler Hamilton (3*)

 

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