Latest Tom Dienhart News

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 running backs

Oct 31, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) leaps over Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back V'Angelo Bentley (2) during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Let's just call this The Saquon Barkley Play

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, Ohio State’s all-world talent Ezekiel Elliott is gone, in addition to Illinois’ Josh Ferguson, Iowa’s Jordan Canzeri and Maryland’s Brandon Ross. But the Big Ten is loaded with plenty of options/depth at running back entering the 2016 season. The impressive group is led by Penn State wunderkind Saquon Barkley.

Read More

Dienhart: Big Ten West linebacker unit rankings

Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst (right) shakes ahnds with linebacker Vince Biegel (47) during the fourth quarter against the USC Trojans in the 2015 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

New DC Justin Wilcox talks Badgers' defense

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Talented, quick, deep … those are just three words that aptly describe the linebacking corps at Wisconsin, which tops my ranking of Big Ten West linebackers. But the LBs will have to adjust to a new coordinator. What impact will that have?

Read More

Dienhart: Big Ten East linebacker unit rankings

Nov 14, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Riley Bullough (30) runs off the field during the 2nd half of a game against the Maryland Terrapins  at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Riley Bullough played a role in this memorable INT

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers need to be a special breed of crazy and talent, willing to take on big offensive linemen and fullbacks with power while also having the speed to chase down running backs. And no school in the East has a better collection of LBs than Michigan State.

Read More

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten’s top 10 wide receivers

Nov 14, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Jehu Chesson (86) catches a touchdown pass on the last play of the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime against Indiana Hoosiers safety Tony Fields (19) at Memorial Stadium. Michigan defeats Indiana in double overtime 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Jehu Chesson forces OT at Indiana

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Much debate rages about who will be the quarterback at Michigan. Whoever wins the job will be comforted by the fact he’ll throw to two of the Big Ten’s top targets in Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh. In fact, the former heads my ranking of 2016 Big Ten wide receivers.

Read More

Dienhart: Big Ten West defensive line unit rankings

Nov 27, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Parker Hesse (40) returns a pass for a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Parker Hesse picks it, and returns it for 6

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Ask any coach, and he’ll tell you the most difficult spot to recruit is defensive line. It is very difficult to find players who are big AND quick. Teams that can build good lines typically have a shot to win league titles. Iowa is one of those teams.

Read More

Dienhart: Big Ten East defensive line unit rankings

Oct 17, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Chris Wormley (43) celebrates his sack of Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh talks Michigan's signing class

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The plaudits for the Michigan d-line began in the winter. And they continued in the spring to the point where some feel this front may not just be the best in the Big Ten … but maybe the best in the nation.

Read More

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 7 quarterbacks

Apr 16, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Scarlet Team quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) high fives fans after the Ohio State Spring Game at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

J.T. Barrett runs for TD at Michigan

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Without a good quarterback, a team has little chance to enjoy a glorious season. The Big Ten will feature several good signal-callers in 2016, led by Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett. In fact, Barrett just may be the league’s best hope to win the Heisman.

Read More

Big Ten links: Scroll through Tuesday best headlines

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed this, and I’m sure you did, Purdue DT Ra’Zahn Howard is in the upcoming NFL supplemental draft, according to reports. Yes, Howard was an underachiever, but the Boilermakers sure could have used his run-stuffing skills and size on the interior. But he didn’t take care of academics and was suspended for the spring. Now, he’s gone for good.

Read More

Dienhart: Big Ten West offensive backfield unit rankings

Oct 17, 2015; Evanston, IL, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) runs the ball during the second half of the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field.

Akrum Wadley takes it for the score at Indiana

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

This time last year, few could have envisioned the historic season Iowa was about to enjoy. The Hawkeyes started the season 12-0, a first, and went to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1990 season after playing in their first Big Ten title game. This season shapes up well, too, beginning with a loaded backfield.

Read More

Dienhart: Big Ten West receiving corps unit rankings

Oct 10, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp (1) leads the offense onto the field against the Wisconsin Badgers at Memorial Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Westerkamp backpedals into end zone

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

When you think of Nebraska, you think of ground-pounding offenses. Mike Riley wants to commit to the rush game in 2016. But, he’ll surely also want to take advantage of what looks like the top set of pass catchers in the West Division.

Read More