The Big Ten top players, coaches, surprises and disappointments at the midseason, along with three bold predictions for the second half.
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10 Best Big Ten Players at the Midseason
1. QB Dwayne Haskins, Jr. Ohio State
What more could you possibly have asked for out of a first half of a season? 25 touchdown passes, four picks, close to ten yards per try, and ultra-clutch performances in nasty moments against Penn State in the White Out conditions and late against TCU.
2. QB Trace McSorley, Sr. Penn State
Put him at either second or third in the Heisman race if Penn State had pulled off the win over Ohio State. Without Saquon Barkley and with a few key new parts, he was amazing in the comeback win over Appalachian State, he was the best player on the field against the Buckeyes, and he has been magnificent overall with ten touchdown passes, just two picks, and with 410 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Now, if he could just get the completion percentage up …
3. RB Jonathan Taylor, Soph. Wisconsin
There are still fumbling concerns, but five games, five 100-yard performances including a 253-yard, three score day against New Mexico and 221 and three touchdowns against Nebraska. On the year he has 849 yards and eight scores, but now the real tests come.
4. DT Dre’Mont Jones, Jr. Ohio State
Nick Bosa would of course be on the list, but he’s been out for three games. Jones has been the glue on the interior – and the unsung star of the great line -with a team-leading 4.5 sacks with 7.5 tackles for loss and 20 stops, He even has a massive pick six against TCU. Bosa might be a top three overall pick, but Jones has top 15 potential.
5. DE Chase Winovich, Sr. Michigan
Yeah, just like Bosa is the best player on the Ohio State line, Rashan Gary is the man for the Michigan – he’s been amazing, but he’s also been a bit banged up – and yeah, LB Devin Bush belongs on this list somewhere. Winovich is the Big Ten leader in tackles for loss with 10.5, he’s tied for second on the team with 34 tackles, and he has three sacks. Big in some big games so far, he was fantastic against Notre Dame and crushed Northwestern.
6. WR Parris Campbell, Sr. Ohio State
Go ahead and take any one of the great Ohio State skill players and put him here, but it’s Campbell who leads the team with 35 catches for 501 yards and seven scores, coming up large when needed against TCU and being a steadying force to go along with the sensational.
7. RB Karan Higdon, Sr. Michigan
For all the attention Shea Patterson is getting for being good, it’s Higdon who has taken over the offense with four 100-yard games including a gutty 114-yard, two score effort against Northwestern. He might not be all that flashy, he’s taking the pressure off the improved passing attack.
8. LB Tre Watson, Sr. Maryland
Combine Watson with fellow linebacker Isaiah Davis and safety Antoine Brooks, and the Terps have a few big-time players on a solid D. The veteran Watson leads the team with 49 tackles with a sack, but his pick six against Minnesota was big and his interception against Texas was even larger. On a roll, he has 36 tackles in the last three games.
9. WR Rondale Moore, Fr. Purdue
One of the Big Ten’s most electrifying all-around players, he leads the team with 41 catches for 457 yards and four scores – the No. 2 wide receiver has just 17 grabs – is averaging over 19 yards per carry, and is strong on kick and punt returns. He leads the league in all-purpose yards.
10. LB Jake Hansen, Soph. Illinois
While the day shouldn’t have needed saving against Kent State, that’s exactly what he did to avoid a horrendous start to the season, making 15 stops with six tackles for loss. He hasn’t quite kept up that pace, and he’s not getting behind the line – that’s not his job – but he’s been a steadying leader for an improving defense.