Big Ten links: NFL draft talk, spring football updates & more

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: NFL draft talk, spring football updates & more

How about this: an anonymous scout has blasted Christian Hackenberg.

Pennlive.com notes that while the scouts managed to highlight Hackenberg’s upside, they also blasted him for a lack of production and his role in taking 104 career sacks. But those criticisms were tame compared to this scorcher on Hackenberg’s leadership:

“He was a Bill O’Brien guy and he had some issues with Franklin,” the scout said. “He hangs out more with managers than he does teammates. It tells me he likes to be king of the little people rather than king of the big people.”

Wow. Seems kind of unfair. I am fascinated to see how Hackenberg turns out at the next level.

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It’s been talked about a bunch, but this could be an historic draft for Ohio State.

The two big records in sight:
• Most players from one school taken in the first round, held by Miami with six in 2004.
• Most players from one school selected in one draft, held by Ohio State with 14 in 2004.

Here’s something Cleveland.com says maybe you didn’t know about that second record: It’s not actually a record. It’s more of a modern record. Those 14 Buckeyes are the most from one school in one draft since the NFL reduced the number of rounds to seven in 1994.

After the upcoming draft, Buckeye fans will wonder even louder how this team didn’t repeat as national champs.

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Depth at linebacker could be a concern for Michigan. But, that’s a reason why Jabrill Peppers is playing there. That, and he’s just a versatile stud.

Also, keep an eye on fellow LBs Mike McCray and Devin Bush, who are key components on what could be a boffo defense.

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Despite the tumult in the Minnesota athletic department, most of the Gophers’ non-major programs are doing quite well, thank you.

Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune notes that the Gophers’ baseball team is ranked. So is softball. These teams are more representative of what has happened with Minnesota athletics in this school year than what occurred with the large teams. Bravo for that.

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Does any new assistant have bigger shoes to fill than new Wisconsin DC Justin Wilcox? Nope.

He is taking over Dave Aranda, who left for LSU. In three years in Madison, Aranda’s defense allowed an average of 289.4 yards per game – which ranks first in the nation over that span. His defense allowed 16.9 points (No. 2 nationally), 179.9 passing yards (No. 3 nationally) and 109.6 rushing yards (No. 4 nationally) over the three years, a span that saw Wisconsin win 30 games with just 10 losses. Aranda’s 2015 defense capped the regular season leading the nation in points allowed at 13.1 points a contest.

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Michigan State finished spring drills on Saturday with no resolution to the QB spot. But Mark Dantonio wants it that way. He wants pressure on his guys all the time. Still, you have to think the job will go to Tyler O’Connor, right?

“Everybody wants to hear the coach say ‘He’s the quarterback,’ ” Dantonio said following Saturday’s Green-White game at Spartan Stadium, “and I’m not going to say ‘He’s the quarterback,’ until we get in the game and see the production from our quarterback position.”

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If you missed Rutgers’ spring game, you missed a heck of a performance by Janarion Grant.

Grant was spectacular in the intrasquad scrimmage, hauling in 11 receptions for 140 yards. The senior from Florida, who also rushed the ball twice for six yards and fielded punts, produced the game’s go-ahead touchdown as he hauled in a Chris Laviano pass in the flat and out-sprinted the White defense for a 37-yard score late in the third quarter.

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Yes, A.J. Hammons is gone. But Purdue may be just fine without him, as Isaac Haas looks poised for a big season as he become “the man.”

“I love A.J., and I wish him the best in the NBA, but now it’s my turn to step up,” Haas said. “I was ready to do it this past year. I felt pretty good about myself and knew if he wasn’t going to step up I was going to. Now, he’s not here anymore, so it’s just me.

“It’s not something to be cocky about. It’s not something to get comfortable with. Now it’s on me.”

During the Big Ten tournament, Purdue coach Matt Painter said if the roles were reversed and Haas played 25 minutes per game instead of Hammons, Haas would be the one on the All-Big Ten team. How good is this guy gonna be?

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Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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