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Fresh faces: B1G players offer 2014 freshmen to watch

Big Ten media days are a chance for reporters to get together and ask some out-of-the-ordinary questions to players and coaches around the conference. One of the questions I asked Monday and Tuesday: Who is one freshman that is standing out at each school? I asked one veteran player from every Big Ten team, and here are the answers I got. [ MORE: Get all of our Big Ten media day coverage ] Jon Davis, TE, Illinois. On offense, I’d say Mikey Dudek. I’d look for him to be in a lot of different positions, special teams as well. He

Video: Huskers RB Ameer Abdullah's 'Kickoff' speech

Nebraska Huskers running back Ameer Abdullah gave this year’s student-athlete speech at the 2014 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago. “If someone is stronger than you, train harder,” Abdullah said.”If someone is faster than you, then you have to run smarter.” Watch the entire speech here and be sure to catch our “Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon Show” at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday on BTN & BTN2Go. In 2013, Abdullah produced his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, topping 100 yards rushing in 11 of 13 games. He finished with 1,690 rushing yards, the highest yardage total for a Husker since

Spartans' defense on the prowl again

It’s mean. It’s nasty. It’s the Michigan State defense. And it has become the signature unit for the signature program in the Big Ten. And no signature unit would be complete without a nickname. Mark Dantonio’s defensive group is aptly called the “Spartan Dawgs.” Perfect. And the leader of this ravenous, snarling group is coordinator Pat Narduzzi. “That defense has been very good,” said Indiana coach Kevin Wilson. “It’s a fast defense, it’s a strong defense and it’s an aggressive defense. No doubt, it has been one of the best in recent years and is a big reason for the

Poll: Chicago Tribune asks for best Big Ten mascot

Our friends at the Chicago Tribune are running a fun poll that is asking fans to vote for the best Big Ten mascot. Vote here. With the recent addition of Maryland (Testudo) and Rutgers (Scarlet Knight), the Big Ten now features 11 mascots. As of Tuesday morning, it’s a two-mascot race, with Herky the Hawk garnering 51 percent of the votes and Brutus Buckeye 43 percent. [ MORE: Big Ten mascots visit D.C. | And Chicago, too! ] Illinois, Indiana and Michigan are the only schools without a mascot.

2014 Big Ten Media Days: Best of Day 1

Day one of Big Ten Media Days was filled with plenty of outstanding quotes, stories, and, of course, fashion. I made it a point to talk to as many coaches and players as possible today, while gathering any and all information I could get my hands on. Here is a breakdown of the best moments from day one of Big Ten media day. [ MORE: Get all of our Big Ten media day coverage ] Best moment(s): Reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year Shilique Calhoun taking the mic and playing reporter. The Michigan State standout was on fire,

Delany points to B1G athletic, academic quality

CHICAGO — College sports have been awash in change in recent years. And change isn’t always easy or welcome. But, it’s inevitable for progress to be achieved. It’s an exciting time. And it’s also a time of challenge, as the collegiate model is on the precipice of forever being altered through remarkable NCAA reform—the biggest change of all in these turbulent times of lawsuits, union talk and expansion as leagues position themselves for the 21st Century. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has been a central figure in this coming new-world of collegiate athletics, helping shape tomorrow with other college leaders.

Video: Connor Cook shows off NaeNae dance moves

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook knows how to have fun, both on and off the football field. The reigning Big Ten title game and Rose Bowl Game MVP, Cook was in his element at his first Big Ten media days Monday in Chicago. So much so, he showed off his NaeNae dance moves during an interview with teammate Shilique Calhoun. See it in this post. [ MORE: Video: Shilique Calhoun interviews Kurtis Drummond about media day suit ] This is fantastic! Michigan State fan, Big Ten fan, whatever you are, this is entertaining.

Photos: Big Ten teams tweet from media days

Big Ten media days kicked off Monday in Chicago, and every Big Ten school covered the day on Twitter, among other social media sites. See a couple tweets from each school in this post. ILLINOIS Triple view of #Illini TE Jon Davis (@JD3_ILLI) with @BigTenNetwork at #B1GMediaDay pic.twitter.com/0nmfR056P2 — Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) July 28, 2014 The #B1GMediaDay grind continues for @coachbeckman. #illini #B1G pic.twitter.com/dYnNapNolX — Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) July 28, 2014 INDIANA #B1GMediaDay Press Conference time for @IUCoachWilson #IUFBinCHI #GoIU pic.twitter.com/b055Dw1b6T — Indiana Football (@HoosierFootball) July 28, 2014 Deep dish pizza in Chicago? Check. #IUFBinCHI pic.twitter.com/VaAhcywpG7 — Indiana Football (@HoosierFootball)

Video: Calhoun plays interviewer at media days

Michigan State safety Kurtis Drummond knew he had to make a statement Monday at Big Ten media days. Meeting the media in Chicago with the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year (Shilique Calhoun) and Big Ten title game and Rose Bowl Game MVP (Connor Cook), Drummond didn’t want to go unnoticed. So, he rocked a suit – and shoes – that made people take notice. [ MORE: Get all of our Big Ten media day coverage ] Even better, the aforementioned Calhoun interviewed Drummond about his attire. Watch the video above. “I just didn’t want to blend in

How does Michigan State stay hungry?

What will Michigan State do for an encore? Last season was one for the ages, as the Spartans went 13-1, won the Big Ten and captured the Rose Bowl. The challenge is to stay hungry. Will MSU still have that chip on the shoulder? That spark? That desire to win big now that the Spartans have scaled the summit? Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has a lot to work with, especially on offense. There’s QB Connor Cook, RB Jeremy Langford and WRs like Tony Lippett, Macgarrett Kings, Jr., and Aaron Burbridge. The defense? It has become the identity of the