BTN.com's top 100 Big Ten players entering 2016: 20-1
B1G HIGHLIGHT - J.T Barrett keeps it and scores from 13 yards out vs. Penn State.
Our countdown of the top 100 Big Ten players entering the 2016 season comes to a close today, with the top 20 stars.
View the final installment of our five-part series below.
20. DE Chris Wormley, Michigan. He’s a versatile and productive (14.5 TFLs and 6.5 sacks in 2015) talent who can play tackle or end for a Wolverine front that may be the best in the nation.
19. RB L.J. Scott, Michigan State. Michigan State has a bevy of talented backs, but look for Scott, the architect of Michigan State’s historic Big Ten title game drive, to carry the workload for the Spartans in 2016.
18. QB C.J. Beathard, Iowa. He isn’t flashy and he won’t put up the staggering stat lines that you’ll see in the Big 12 and Pac-12, but Beathard has a big arm, takes care of the ball and is a winner (13-2, including 13-0 in regular season).
17. LB Ed Davis, Michigan State. Assuming Davis does come back and he is healthy, this guy could be one of the top pass-rushing linebackers in the nation in 2016.
16. RB Corey Clement, Wisconsin. Clement was banged up in 2015, but when healthy, he is one of the most productive backs in the Big Ten.
15. LB Josey Jewell, Iowa. Hard to believe, but Jewell, who is fresh off a team-best 126 tackles, was offered one scholarship by a FBS school. He’s making the Iowa staff look like geniuses.
14. DB Will Likely, Maryland. How talented is Likely? Already Maryland’s top defensive back and returner, the Terrapins asked Likely to pull triple duty and play offense last season.
13. LB Riley Bullough, Michigan State. The captain of the Spartans’ defense, Bullough ranked in the Top 10 in the conference last season with 106 tackles en route to being named second-team All-Big Ten last year.
12. OL Pat Elfein, Ohio State. A strong, powerful blocker, Elfein could have turned pro and been an early-round pick in April but is back to anchor a rebuilt Buckeye front.
11. RB Justin Jackson, Northwestern. No one in the Big Ten is more underrated than Jackson, who has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and should be in for another big year.
10. TE Jake Butt, Michigan. Arguably the best tight end in the nation, Butt hauled in 51 passes for 654 yards and three scores last season, and should be even better for an exceptional Wolverine offense.
9. OL Dan Feeney, Indiana. This guy is a powerful force at the point of attack, he plays with a defensive mentality, and he’s a flat-out nasty.
8. LB Anthony Walker, Northwestern. Only three players in the nation had more tackles for loss (20.5) a season ago, and only two players in the Big Ten registered more tackles (122).
7. LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State. A likely future All-American and first-round selection, McMillan is a classic linebacker who can play with power and speed.
6. RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State. A freakish athlete, Barkley set the Penn State freshman rushing record (1,076 yards), all while missing two games and receiving one carry in the season opener.
5. DB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan. He defended 20 passes last season to emerge as one of the nation’s premier shutdown corners.
4. DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State. A dominant interior lineman with a knack for making huge plays, McDowell will anchor what should be an outstanding Michigan State defense in 2016.
3. DB/LBJabrill Peppers, Michigan. Cornerback. Safety. Linebacker. Even receiver. It doesn’t matter where No. 5 lines up, he’s a supreme talent who’s as “much-watch” as anyone in the nation.
2. DB Desmond King, Iowa. The reigning Jim Thorpe winner set a school record with eight interceptions last season, and enters the season as the nation’s top defensive back.
1. QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State. He will be looking to recapture his 2014 form, when he was the top signal-caller in the Big Ten as a redshirt freshman. Barrett is a deadly combination of athletic ability and savvy who is the perfect fit for this offense. And he’s a great leader.