Unlike other squads or position groups, it is impossible to give a year-to-year prognostication of collegiate special teams.
The players that usually make up a given special-team squad are underclassmen that are getting their feet wet. In other words, this year's punt-team gunner is next year's starting free safety.
On the other hand, the specialists are a measurable group.
Specifically, I am referring to the place kicker, punter, punt returner, kick returner and the player that handles kickoff duties.
Finally, unlike my estimates of other groups, I listed every kicker or punter that is currently on each team's roster—walk-on or scholarship—as well as all incoming scholarship kickers.
Meanwhile, I also listed every player on the roster with more than one collegiate return to his credit as being "in the mix."
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 in any one season.
A player only receives credit for the particular position at which he started. For example, if somebody handled kickoff duties for two years, but punting for one, he would have two asterisks next to kickoffs and one next to punting.
Players in italics are returning all-conference honorees.
A pound sign (#) indicates a player who hasn't started consecutive years or didn't start last year.
Finally, a lot can change in the next few months. This article is based on what the rosters of Big Ten teams look like, and what we know, right now.
Check out previous articles in this series, beginning with the most recent, Power Ranking the Conference Secondaries.