QB: Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State
This was a very tough decision, and I know it will generate a lot of debate, but I think Terrelle Pryor will play better than Darryl Clark this year.
After leading the Buckeyes for most of the year in 2008, Pryor seems ready to take Ohio State even further this season. The highly sought after recruit has certainly lived up to the hype, so far, and looks to be the best quarterback in a mediocre Big Ten group.
RB: Evan Royster, Penn State
Last year, the Big Ten was a conference dominated by running backs. Ohio State's Beanie Wells was picked in the first round of the NFL Draft, while Iowa's Shonn Greene won the Doak Walker award for the nation's best running back.
Without Wells, Greene, or Michigan State's Javon Ringer, this group will be much less touted nationally than last year. Still, Royster looks to be a good running back that will help to carry this Penn State offense.
WR: Arrelious Benn, Illinois
Although things aren't looking too good for his team, Benn certainly has the talent to help the Illini win a few more games than in 2008. Benn may be one of the most talented wide receivers in the country, but that talent hasn't always translated over to the field.
If he can become more consistent, he should have no problem becoming the Big Ten's best wide receiver.
WR: Eric Decker, Minnesota
After receiving All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media last season, Decker should have no trouble repeating his performance this year.
He will, virtually, be QB Adam Weber's only target this year, and the two should be able to get in sync early on in 2009. If that happens, look out for the Gophers to at least repeat last year's performance.
TE: Garrett Graham, Wisconsin
After a somewhat disappointing 2008, Graham looks like he will be able to lead the Badgers for real this time in 2009. While the rest of his team is looking a little bit down, Graham should have no problem becoming Wisconsin's leading receiver and leading the Badgers more than he did last year.
OT: Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
After a horrible 2007 season, Iowa's offensive line rebounded in 2008 to be come the strength that it has always been for the Hawkeyes under Kirk Ferentz.
Bulaga will lead a group that will be arguably one of the best in the nation. His combination of size and athletic ability make him a top NFL prospect if he chooses to leave early in 2010, but they also make him the best at his position in the Big Ten.
OG: Stephen Schilling, Michigan
Schilling came into Michigan as one of the most highly talented recruits in the country. He was a five-star prospect according to Rivals and was ranked the second best offensive guard in the country.
While he hasn't quite yet lived up to that hype at Michigan, he seems to be developing nicely and has a shot at earning a sport on the All-Big Ten team due to a lack of guard talent around the conference.
C: Mike Brewster, Ohio State
After a strange turn of events last year, in which Brewster made a switch from guard to center, the Ohio State sophomore seems to have settled into the system nicely.
He was ranked the best center in the country coming out of high school. Brewster is very athletic for a center and should be tough to get around for the Buckeyes next fall.
OG: Justin Boren, Ohio State
After transferring from Michigan to Ohio State, Boren has some big expectations from OSU fans, but it looks like he has the potential to meet them. He started every game at Michigan in 2008, earning all-conference honorable mention.
At Ohio State, he will get some help from the aforementioned center Mike Brewster and the two should be an excellent pair in 2009.
OT: Kyle Calloway, Iowa
Calloway will likely be overshadowed for much of the year by teammate Bryan Bulaga, but Calloway has the strength, size, and athleticism to be just as good as Bulaga.
Last year he was part of an offensive line that opened up many holes for tailback Shonn Greene to run through, and he should help to do the same for sophomore running back Jewel Hampton.
DE: Corey Wooten, Northwestern
At 6'7", Corey Wooten is probably the best mix of size and athleticism in the Big Ten. Last year, as a junior, he recorded 10 sacks, a number which he should improve on this season.
He has great potential for the future and should have a very easy time holding onto his All-Big Ten spot from last season if he is even remotely close to last year's performance.
DT: Jared Odrick, Penn State
While Aaron Maybin got most of the credit last year for Penn State’s outstanding defensive line, Odrick shouldn’t be forgotten.
He recorded 41 tackles, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a safety. He is huge, even for a defensive lineman, and could go in the first half of the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
DT: Mike Neal, Purdue
Neal is probably the second best defensive lineman in a less than impressive group in 2010. Last year he recorded 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss, along with 23 more tackles.
He is a hard hitter who should see his numbers improve during his senior season in 2009.
DE: Brandon Graham, Michigan
Graham has recorded 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons and has a good shot at getting his senior season sack total into double digits. Last year he recorded 20 tackles for loss, a number that should also improve in 2009.
He will be the leader of the Wolverines and will try to get his team back to their winning ways, as he is one of the few players who remain from the good Michigan teams of the past.
LB: Pat Angerer, Iowa
Like Shonn Greene, Pat Angerer came out of nowhere last year to become a force at linebacker.
He tied for the league lead in interceptions with five and tied for sixth with 107 tackles. Not only that, he was in almost every play that happened on defense and could easily transition from pass coverage to run stopping.
Angerer should be a force for the Hawkeyes once again in what is arguably the nation’s best linebacking corps.
LB: Sean Lee, Penn State
Happy Valley is the home of Linebacker U once again.
Even though he has been out for a year, Lee will still be a very strong linebacker for Penn State. In 2007, he recorded 137 tackles, an interception, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. His numbers were similar in 2006.
If he continues to build, there is no way that he won’t receive All-Big Ten honors.
LB: Navorro Bowman, Penn State
As explained earlier, Linebacker U is back. He recorded 106 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Bowman was the reason for much of Penn State’s success last year and will be a major part in the Nittany Lions’ defense again in 2009.
CB: Amari Spievey, Iowa
Spievey is the best cornerback in the Big Ten, hands down.
He recorded 67 tackles, four interceptions, six pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a sack in 2008, his sophomore season. After coming back from junior college to get his grades up, Spievey shocked the Big Ten with his agility and athleticism to turn the Iowa secondary into major threat.
He should build on his numbers in 2009 and receive recognition as one of the nation’s top corners.
CB: Traye Simmons, Minnesota
After earning second team All-Big Ten honors in 2008, Simmons will looks to continue his success in 2009. The JUCO transfer recorded 14 pass breakups, four interceptions, and a forced fumble last year. He even returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.
Simmons looks like one of Minnesota’s few defensive bright spots heading into 2009.
S: Kurt Coleman, Ohio State
Coleman led the Buckeyes with four interceptions in 2008 along with recording 78 tackles, including 11 in the Fiesta Bowl. He improved as the season went on; expect that improvement to continue into next year.
If he even matches last year’s performance, he should have no problem receiving All-Big Ten honors in 2009.
S: Tyler Sash, Iowa
Sash had a stellar freshman season for Iowa in 2008. He recorded 53 tackles, a sack, and tied the Big Ten lead with teammate Pat Angerer with five interceptions. Two of those interceptions came against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
He also has great speed and agility, averaging 29.4 yards per runback on interceptions last year. He should improve this year and become even better as a sophomore.
K: Brett Swenson, Michigan State
Swenson had a respectable year in 2008, making 22 of his 28 attempted field goals (78.6%) and made every one of his 34 attempted extra points. He will most likely be able to improve on those numbers in 2009.
P: Ryan Donahue, Iowa
Donahue was down a little bit in 2008 when compared to his 2007 season, but still did very well. The main reason for his drop in production is that Iowa was always punting in 2007, but were better in 2008, so they didn’t punt as much.
In 2007, he recorded an 82 yard punt against Michigan State and has the leg to kick the ball the length of the field. He will be one of the conference's best punters once again in 2009.
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