Keep Your Eye on These Six College Football Players in the Big Ten
News of the Big Ten football season being patched together was music to a lot of people’s ears.
The schedules are out, and we’ve seen a number of student-athletes in the Big Ten who previously opted-out commit to coming back.
Now that we can get a decent grasp on what the conference will behold, let’s take a look at some of the brightest stars who will be competing in 2020.
Here are six college football players to watch in the Big Ten.
Sean Clifford – QB, Penn State
Let’s hope that James Franklin’s quarterback enjoys shouldering the pressure.
Penn State’s aspirations of making it the College Football Playoff are directly hinged to the performance of Sean Clifford. The rising junior sported a respectable 23:7 TD:INT ratio last season in University Park, but he’ll need to improve his accuracy if the Nittany Lions plan on contending (59.2% in 2019).
What stands out about Clifford is the obvious path for growth, as noted by FOX College Football analyst and former Heisman winner, Matt Leinart.
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Purdue football program received a major jolt when Rondale Moore decided to opt back into the 2020 season. A nagging hamstring injury cost him all but four games in 2019, but Moore was nothing short of sensational as a true frosh in 2018.
Just how good was Rondale in his first season in West Lafayette?
Well, he became the first freshman recognized as a consensus All-American since Adrian Peterson was honored back in 2004.
Jalen Berger – RB, Wisconsin
Somebody needs to replace Jonathan Taylor’s immense production in Madison. Garrett Groshek is adequate, and Nakia Watson is a bruiser
However, incoming freshman Jalen Berger has a chance to be special.
More than 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior at Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey, Berger looks like a can’t prospect. From Nick Saban at Alabama to Ed Orgeron at LSU – every top college coach in America was clamoring over the opportunity to sign Jalen to a National Letter of Intent.
Boy, are the Badgers lucky to have him.
Rather than ease Berger into the fray, expect Paul Chryst to force-feed the talented freshman the rock.
Shaun Wade – CB, Ohio State
In all likelihood, Shaun Wade will follow in Jeff Okudah’s footsteps and become the second straight Buckeye to be the first CB taken in the NFL Draft.
It’s easy to praise Justin Fields and Chris Olave, and Wyatt Davis is a monster upfront. Nevertheless, it’s Wade’s prowess in the secondary that’s going to make Ohio State nearly impossible to beat.
You can find a lot of people in Columbus who are on cloud nine thanks to Shaun being reinstated. None were happier than his head coach, Ryan Day, who tweeted out, “Best in America” after Wade announced he was returning to the program.
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Who’s the best edge rusher in the nation that the casual fans don’t know about?
My vote goes to Boilermakers stud DE, George Karlaftis.
Trust me, it’s a lot harder to pronounce his last name than it is to spot his unique skill set.
George Karlaftis ranked 10th in the country with 55 QB pressures last season.— PFF College (@PFF_College) July 1, 2020
No other freshman ranked inside the top-100. pic.twitter.com/rilfJIIgK6
CBS Sports writer Tom Fornelli had Karlaftis down for 60 total pressures – which would be just one fewer pressure than Ohio State’s Chase Young.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
Sean Clifford’s path to success is paved thanks to the assistance of another one of the top college football players to watch in the Big Ten.
Enter Pat Freiermuth, a 6’5” 260-pound tight end who reeled in 15 touchdowns passes across his first two years at Penn State.
An absolute matchup nightmare who can run every route in the tree, look for Freiermuth to be the first tight end off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft.