The college football season is so close that you can practically taste the blood, sweat, and tears. Teams are wrapping up their final preparations as we are less than two weeks from the first game. The Big Ten’s first game action isn’t until August 29th, when the Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits; a game that lacks star talent, and minimal talent relevant to the 2020 NFL Draft.
With the season so close, we thought it’s finally time to look deeper into the actual conference instead of just giving you some player previews. This list is obviously subject to change, but currently, this is how I view the Big Ten All-Conference teams. Some positions (wide receiver) are much deeper than others (quarterbacks.) This list was created with both statistical expectations and impact on the team’s win-loss column in mind.
In this issue, we’ll be visiting the offensive side of the ball. The defense is next week, as they each deserve their own spotlight.
- QB – Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
- RB – Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
- RB – JK Dobbins, Ohio State
- WR – Rondale Moore, Purdue
- WR – Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
- TE – Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
- OT – Alaric Jackson, Iowa
- OT – Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
- OG – Ben Bredeson, Michigan
- OG – Ross Reynolds, Iowa
- C – Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
QB – Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Martinez came in last year and performed very admirably for a true freshman. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten and freshman All-American. In the last six games of the season, Martinez led the Cornhuskers to a 4-2 record. With a year of experience and an offseason as the undoubted QB1, Martinez is ready for a big year.
A true dual-threat quarterback, don’t be surprised if Martinez has a stat line close to 3,000 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, 750 rushing yards, and 10 touchdowns. These numbers would undoubtedly be enough to secure his place as the best Big Ten quarterback. His competition isn’t exactly the toughest, and if I picked an honorable mention this year, it would probably be Justin Fields, who hasn’t even started a game. Unfortunately, neither are eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft.
RB – Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
One of the easiest choices on this list, Jonathan Taylor is also a Heisman favorite and pre-season All-American. Taylor is entering the third year of his collegiate career and he’s already threatening the career rushing title. Held by Donnell Pumphrey, Taylor needs about 2,200 more rushing yards to take the title. While it may seem impossible for most players, Jonathan is not most players.
WR – JK Dobbins, Ohio State
Dobbins had a bit of a “down year” after his excellent freshman season. To be fair, Dobbins was on the same team as Dwayne Haskins, who had one of the most productive passing seasons in college football history. Dobbins also had to share the backfield with current Dallas Cowboy Mike Weber. It’s easy to understand why he lacked the same production.
Calling Dobbins’ sophomore season a “down year” is a bit silly. He still managed to produce over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and added 12 total touchdowns. Now that he’s the lone workhorse in the backfield, he’ll receive more total touchdowns and I expect a big season. The presence of Justin Fields and his running ability will also provide some relief for Dobbins. Expect this offense to be the most electric in the Big Ten.
WR – Rondale Moore, Purdue
Rondale Moore is arguably college football’s most exciting player, and he may already be the best receiver in the Big Ten. Rondale Moore is lightning in a bottle. He’s fast, possesses quick feet, sure hands, and he’s seemingly impossible to tackle alone. After a true freshman season that saw Moore finish with nearly 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns, it’s hard to not get excited about his future. Even with the loss of quarterback David Blough, Moore’s natural ability will prevail and I expect a dominant season. Moore is going to be an exciting player to evaluate when he’s eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft.
WR – Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
In terms of an NFL Draft prospect, I’m not on the Tyler Johnson hype train like others. However, I cannot deny his ability to produce numbers. Last year he produced 1,169 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. If he can improve on his numbers, he’ll be one of the conference’s biggest threats. Johnson is the first star Big Ten player we’ll see from the conference this year, so expect him to put on a show against South Dakota St.
TE – Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
If I told you Purdue had the most skill position players to make this team, would you believe me? Along with Moore, Brycen Hopkins is an electric player with an amazing ability to make a big play. In an era where tight ends are perennially under-used in college football, it doesn’t take much to stand out statistically. Hopkins has improved every season and if he puts it all together, we could see a season with 700 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. That’s more than enough to finish first in the Big Ten among tight ends.
OT – Alaric Jackson, Iowa
Alaric Jackson was voted second-team All-Conference last year. Expect Jackson to improve at the offensive line factory known as Iowa. He’s a brick wall defender and half of the best tackle tandem in college football.
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The other half of the best tackle tandem in college football. This is a bit of a leap of faith. While I acknowledge Tristan Wirfs is the most talented tackle in the conference, I don’t necessarily think he’s the best currently. He leaves a lot to be desired in the run game. If Iowa coaches can get to him and take his play to a new level, it’ll be something fun to watch.
OG – Ben Bredeson, Michigan
As a second-team All-Conference last year, Bredeson returns to a strong Michigan line. He has the ability to be one of the best guards in the country. Expect a big year from the powerful Bredeson. He’s the best guard in the Big Ten and is someone to keep your eye on for the NFL Draft.
OG – Ross Reynolds, Iowa
The final Iowa lineman on this list, Reynolds was also voted to the second-team All-Conference list last year. Reynolds moves well in space and is a good compliment to Alaric Jackson, who plays right next to him. Iowa doesn’t have a ton to be excited about on the offensive side of the ball, but as always, the offensive line will be a monstrous unit.
Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
For my money, Tyler Biadasz is the best offensive player in the Big Ten. He’s also the conference’s best offensive NFL Draft prospect. A monster of a man, he excels in both run blocking and pass protection. Biadasz should be a top 20 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
What about the defense? Come back next week for the All-Conference defensive predictions!