Big Ten Football: Updating Week 5 Performances of Conference's Top Freshmen

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor ISeptember 30, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 28:  Sojourn Shelton #8 of the Wisconsin Badgers breaks up a pass intended for Devin Smith #9 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 31-24.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After a week away, we're back this Monday to give you the lowdown on what is happening with the freshmen we highlighted before the season. 

It was a relatively light week for the top five freshmen we highlighted, but as we head into the meat of the Big Ten season it is time we also update you on where each of the freshmen stand on the season so far. 

So, let us dive into the top freshmen and their performances. 

Derrick Green, Running Back (Michigan): No game 

Season to Date: 13 carries, 60 yards 4.6 avg, 1 touchdown

Aug 31, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Derrick Green (27) rushes with the ball in the third quarter against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Green had a great game to open the season against Central Michigan, rushing for 58 yards on 11 attempts. However, since then he has seen all of two carries in three games and didn't see a single carry in the last game at UConn. 

According to, it appears that Green's decline in carries is more about running back Fitzgerald Toussaint than anything Green is or isn't doing. So, unless Toussaint isn't doing much, expect Green's contributions during Big Ten play to be limited. 

Sojourn Shelton, Cornerback (Wisconsin): 5 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 pass break ups

Season to Date: 16 tackles, 2 interceptions, 3 pass break ups, 5 passes defensed, 1 quarterback hit, 1 forced fumble

Two weeks ago Shelton was challenged in the ASU game and he was challenged again this past weekend at Ohio State. Shelton largely passed this test though as he forced a fumble and nearly had two picks. One of those missed picks proved costly though as OSU scored on the next play. Overall though, Shelton held his own and was never completely beaten. He showed why the Badgers are willing to put him on an island and he also showed he can hit for a guy his size (5'9", 172 lbs). 

Christian Hackenberg, Quarterback (Penn State): No game

Season to Date: 62.2 completion percentage, 1,027 yards, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, -32 yards rushing

Sep 21, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) throws a pass in the second quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Hackenberg has been pretty good as a freshman passing for over 250 yards in three of the four games on Penn State's schedule so far. However, he does need to cut down on the turnovers as he's thrown one interception in three of the four games. It will be interesting to see if his numbers go up or down in conference play, but Hackenberg has shown some growth in his decision making over the last few weeks, which could be a good sign going forward. 

Darius Latham, Defensive Tackle (Indiana): No Game

Season to Date: 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass break up

Latham has begun to make a difference up front for the Hoosiers, but the real tests are about to start for the freshman. Obviously, the stats aren't eye-popping, but we're talking about a position that is less about stats and more about space eating and it appears that Latham is getting the hang of that role. It will be a work in progress, but expect Latham to have a nice role in the future; it just may not be as big during conference play. 

Corey Clement, Running Back (Wisconsin): No stats in loss to Ohio State

Sep 21, 2013; Madison, WI, USA;  Wisconsin Badgers running back Corey Clement (6) rushes for a touchdown as Purdue Boilermakers cornerback Normondo Harris (1) defends during the fourth quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Purdue 41-10.  Man

Season to Date: 44 attempts, 334 yards, 7.6 average, 4 touchdowns

Clement didn't see a carry against Ohio State, but did see some action on special teams and was in the game in the backfield a few times. Overall it's hard to argue he hasn't made an impact in his first year, going for over 100 yards twice already. Playing time going forward may be limited because of the conference schedule, but if the Badgers are blowing opponents out, expect him to have a role in the second half of those games to spell James White and Melvin Gordon. 

Other Freshmen of Note:

Dontre Wilson, Running Back (Ohio State): 2 carries, 21 yards 

Sep 28, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Dontre Wilson (1) returns a kick off return during the fourth quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State Buckeyes defeated Wisconsin Badgers 31-24. Mandatory Credit:
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Season to Date: 15 carries, 142 yards, 9.5 average, 1 touchdown

The game was very close and as such the youth of Wilson wasn't used, especially when the Buckeyes went all power run game with Carlos Hyde in the second half of the game. His role will be ebb and flow from here on out, but he can be a difference maker depending on the situation. 

Joey Bosa, Defensive End (Ohio State): 1 tackle

Season to Date: 11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss

Bosa didn't have a major role against the Badgers, but he will see continued playing time in the rotation at defensive end for Ohio State moving forward. He's had a good impact already as a freshman and Bosa is clearly a name people will want to put in the back of their heads for next year at a minimum. 

B.J. Knauf, Wide Receiver (Purdue): 2 catches, 16 yards; 2 carries, 41 yards

Season to Date: 9 catches, 95 yards, 1 touchdown

Sep 28, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver B.J. Knauf (83) runs after catching a pass against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Knauf has been targeted a good deal given the fact that a running back leads the team in receptions this season so far. Along with DeAngelo Yancey, Knauf is a part of the best freshmen wide receiver duo in the country, if you ask me. This offense is going to be very good in the future thanks to the experience Knauf is getting at this point in time. His shifty nature and explosiveness in open space could be a game-changer in the future for Darrell Hazell's offense. 

DeAngelo Yancey, Wide Receiver (Purdue): 7 catches, 117 yards

Season to Date: 9 catches, 149 yards

Yancey didn't have a major role this season before this game, but once Danny Etling came in, his role increased and that gave Purdue fans a glimmer of hope for the future of this program. 2013 is pretty much shot at this point in time, but seeing how Etling, Knauf and Yancey combine going forward is going to be fun.

*Andy Coppens is the Big Ten Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Continue the B1G conversation by following him on Twitter.


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