The Big Ten is home to some of the best and most accomplished football players in the country, but there are still a number of players that have a lot to prove in 2015. Here are the top five:
5) QB Michael Dare, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
2014 starting quarterback Gary Nova is gone, so coach Kyle Flood may look to Dare as the answer sometime in 2015. Minnesota transfer Philip Nelson was supposed to be the heir apparent to the starting role, but he arrested and charged with two counts of felony assault, and has been kicked off the team. Dare's big arm and tall frame just scream future NFL Draft first rounder, and his unique size/strength combination could make him a favorite to take over under center before the season is through at Rutgers.
While this certainly isn't an ideal situation for Rutgers or for Dare, the Scarlet Knights will need him to play well for them to be successful this year.
4) OT Paris Palmer, Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State desperately needs talent on what has been a paper-thin offensive line, and Palmer's one heck of a step in the right direction. A junior college transfer, Palmer needs reps and lots of them to make an instant impact as his fundamentals remains a bit raw. However, the Nittany Lions are counting on him to be their anchor before he's even played a snap yet.
3) CB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan Wolverines
Peppers’ extremely hyped freshman campaign was shortened dramatically by an injury and re-injury of his ankle. However, he’s a five-star talent who should make a big impact with his ball instincts, along with giving the return game a jolt. He was billed as the second coming of Charles Woodson by Michigan fans, and the pressure in on him to start showing some promise (and to stay on the field) this season.
2) QB Tommy Armstrong Jr., Nebraska Cornhuskers
There's one major reason to consider Armstrong as a breakout candidate in 2015 -- Mike Riley. The new Nebraska head coach has a penchant for spreading out his offenses and allowing his QBs to chuck and chuck and chuck. That should help Armstrong's development as he'll be constantly challenged to better his reads and work through his progressions with efficiency. Nebraska fans are waiting on Armstrong to become something more than an average quarterback, and this year will be his sink or swim season.
1) QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State Nittany Lions
Hackenberg went through some major growing pains as a sophomore, but he's got the pure, raw talent to be the top overall pick in the NFL Draft - something he's been tagged with since he stepped on campus. If the offensive line can solidify itself and a receiver or two can emerge as a true threat, Hackenberg can prove that his struggles last season were just a blip on the radar and not who he is as a quarterback.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed