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Latest Tom Dienhart News

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 defensive linemen

Ask any coach, and he’ll tell you the most difficult position to recruit is defensive line. It’s a challenge to find players who are big AND quick. That’s why good d-linemen are so cherished. And, Michigan State has a good one in Malik McDowell, who leads my list of top 10 Big Ten defensive linemen. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Top 10 offensive linemen | Full unit rankings ] Here’s my complete top 10 list. 1. Malik McDowell, Michigan State, Jr. He thinks he’s the best d-lineman in the

Big Ten links: Scroll through Monday's best headlines

Thoughts and prayers to former Michigan RB coach Fred Jackson, whose nephew was a shooting victim in Baton Rouge. Montrell Jackson, 32, a 10-year-veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department, was one of three police officers killed in an ambush shooting just a mile from police headquarters. *** There are some interesting QB battles in the Big Ten. One such competition is at Penn State. Most program watchers feel Trace McSorley, a redshirt sophomore from Virginia who replaced an injured Christian Hackenberg in January’s TaxSlayer Bowl, will win the job. But James Franklin says it’s an open competition. Could Tommy

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 offensive linemen

Football is won in the trenches. Without a good line, an offense has little chance for success—no matter how many five-star running backs are on the roster. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Full unit rankings ] And no one in the Big Ten is better at getting a push than Ohio State’s Pat Elflein. He heads my list of the top 10 offensive linemen in the Big Ten. 1. Pat Elflein, G, Ohio State, Sr. He eschewed a chance to turn pro to be the anchor of a rebuilt

Dienhart: Big Ten West defensive backfield unit rankings

No Big Ten team will have a better DB than Iowa corner Desmond King, who won the Thorpe Award. But instead of turning pro coming off that season of glory, King opted to return to Iowa City. And that’s a big reason why the Hawkeyes top my ranking of Big Ten West defensive backfields. [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West defensive lines | West linebackers | West predictions ] See my full ranking below. 1. Iowa. This could be the top secondary in the Big Ten. Senior corner Desmond King eschewed the NFL

Dienhart: Big Ten East defensive backs unit rankings

There is a lot to like about Michigan in 2016, as Jim Harbaugh begins his second season in Ann Arbor in pursuit of the program’s first Big Ten title since 2004. Among the many areas of strength is the secondary, led by Jourdan Lewis—one of the best corners in America. [ MORE: East offensive lines | East receiving corps | East backfields | East defensive lines | East linebackers | East predictions ] Here is my ranking of the Big Ten East defensive backfields. 1. Michigan. Senior Jourdan Lewis lacks size but is one of the nation’s best corners and

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

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. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Full unit rankings ] Here is my ranking of the Big Ten’s top 10 running backs for 2016. 1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State, So. The future seems limitless for a guy who set the Penn State freshman rushing record

Big Ten links: Michigan's heralded d-line, basketball updates & more

The hype surrounding the Michigan defensive line continues to grow. And end Taco Charlton hopes to be a big part of the front as he aims for an impactful senior send-off. Will this be the year he finally puts it all together? He looks like a pro—but doesn’t always play like one. “I’m going to set my expectations higher than anyone else can set them,” Charlton said last month in Ann Arbor. “As a d-line we do the same thing collectively, together. We hold ourselves to that point. We feel like we can be the best. But it doesn’t mean

Dienhart: Big Ten West linebacker unit rankings

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? [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West defensive lines | West predictions ] Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten West linebacker units. 1. Wisconsin. Senior Vince Biegel and sophomore T.J. Edwards are the bellwethers of this strong unit. Biegel tallied 14 TFLs in 2015 and is the leader of the defense

Big Ten links: Scroll through Tuesday's best headlines

It’s good to be Mike Conley. The former Ohio State Buckeye is expected to ink the richest NBA deal in history. I never envisioned Conley being this good of pro. He’s still going, while OSU teammate Greg Oden has been done for a while. According to multiple reports, Conley is expected to sign a five-year deal worth $153 million to stay with the Memphis Grizzlies. Crazy money in the NBA right now. *** Speaking of former Buckeyes, can D’Angelo Russell become Ohio State’s next NBA superstar? The other Ohio State players in the NBA: Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner and Kosta

Dienhart: Big Ten East linebacker unit rankings

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. [ MORE: East OL | East receiving corps | East backfields | East DL | East predictions ] Here’s my ranking of Big Ten East linebacking units. 1. Michigan State. Lots of talent in East Lansing. Senior Riley Bullough will be one of the Big Ten’s best. He is Mr. Spartan, a true