The 2012 Big Ten pass catcher groups are a tough bunch to read.
The conference's top-five pass catchers in both touchdowns and yards per game have all graduated. The top seven in receptions per game are gone.
The only teams returning their top pass catcher (receptions) are Ohio State, Indiana and Nebraska. Of those three, Ohio State and Indiana lost their would be top pass catcher—DeVier Posey and Demarlo Belcher, respectively—for most of 2011 due to suspension or injury. That is, if Posey and Belcher hadn't missed over half the season each, both would have led their teams in most receiving categories.
In short, it's tough to rank these groups. All are fairly high on promise. Some have experience, but unfulfilled potential. Some, such as Wisconsin, have proven playmakers, but big holes otherwise. Some, such as Purdue, return a good deal of experience, but no one player has shown himself to be a game changer.
Unlike 2012 Big Ten running backs, which is fairly cut-and-dried, the pass catcher groups leave a good deal of room for debate.
The number of asterisks next to a players' name indicates how many years he has started. A "starter," for my purposes, had at least four starts to his credit in any one season.
Players in italics are returning all-conference honorees.
The positions listed are based on typical schemes the team in question runs. That is, while Iowa's second tight end is virtually a starter, Northwestern almost never plays two tight ends, or superbacks, at once, but often plays four-wide.
Finally, a lot can change in the next few months.
This article is based on what the rosters of Big Ten teams look like right now, as well as what we know right now.
Check out previous articles in this series, beginning with the first, Breaking Down the Big Ten quarterbacks.