Rejoice, Big Ten football fans. Phil Steele has released his much-anticipated 2014 Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Steele compiles four teams on offense and defense, two more than the official All-Big Ten teams released at the end of the year. See who made Steele’s preseason teams in this post. Here’s his All-America team, too.
First reaction: Big Ten newbies Maryland and Rutgers add some quality top-end talent, what with three first-teamers and one second-teamer.
Most players: 6 – Ohio State, Northwestern
Biggest surprise: Kyle Prater, a second-team receiver. Look, Prater was a can’t-miss prospect before eventually committing to USC, where he was before transferring to Northwestern, but he’s amassed just 20 receptions and zero touchdowns in an injury-plagued career. Then again, the Big Ten did lose a lot of stud receivers.
Mr. Undervalued: Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois – not listed. The Big Ten is loaded at running back, so someone worthy of inclusion is going to be left out. To me, Ferguson, arguably the Big Ten’s top all-around back, is one of the top eight at his position.
First reaction: Like running back, the Big Ten is absolutely loaded at defensive line. Carl Davis, a second-teamer? Marcus Rush, a fourth-teamer? Good luck, Big Ten quarterbacks!
Most players: 5 – Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State
Biggest surprise: Five Michigan players from a defense that wasn’t exactly stout last season, and none is highly touted freshman Jabrill Peppers. That said, this unit will improve from a full year of stud LB Jake Ryan.
Mr. Undervalued: Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin – 4th team. Caputo tallied 63 tackles, second only to stud Chris Borland. Somebody has to replace Borland’s 112 tackles, and it’s a safe bet that the safety will pick up some of the slack.
|About Brent Yarina||BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.|