The Next Level

The Next Level

The Next Level covers the Big Ten football stars from the past, present and future by tracking our shining professional players as well as those current Big Ten athletes poised to make the leap. Join Rick Pizzo, Tom Waddle, and Antwaan Randle El every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Week 10 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 10 of the NFL season is in the books, and Big Ten products made quite the impact. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday, Brent Yarina singles out the best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus links to their NFL.com highlights. See Brent’s Week 10 winners in this post.

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Week 9 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 9 of the NFL season is in the books, and Big Ten products have had more big days. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday, Brent Yarina singles out the best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus links to their NFL.com highlights. See Brent’s Week 9 winners in this post.

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The Big Ten's Best of October

October was a crazy and unpredictable month. The proof: Under-the-radar Penn State went 5-0 and sits comfortably atop the Leaders Division, Big Ten favorite Wisconsin lost back-to-back games on last-minute Hail Marys, Michigan State got through a stretch of Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin unscathed, and Iowa lost to struggling Minnesota despite getting 252 rushing yards from Marcus Coker. The list could continue, but you get the point.

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Week 8 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 8 of the NFL season is in the books, and Big Ten products compiled some impressive performances. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday, Brent Yarina singles out the best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus links to their NFL.com highlights. Watch now as Russ Lande breaks down his latest draft board and see Brent’s Week 8 winners in this post.

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Dienhart: Week 9 Player Rankings

The Big Ten is loaded with standout players on both sides of the ball. There’s Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus, Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff, Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David and Michigan State wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, who joined The Next Level on Tuesday night. Watch the interview now.

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Week 7 Big Ten NFL Stats

Another week of the NFL season is in the books, and yet again Big Ten products left their mark. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday, Brent Yarina singles out the best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus links to their NFL.com highlights. See Brent’s Week 7 winners inside.

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Next Level: Shaun Prater Interview

On Tuesday night’s “The Next Level,” Rick Pizzo, Brandon Williams and Jon Jansen interviewed Iowa star defensive back Shaun Prater. Prater, who has one interception and two forced fumbles on the year, is getting the star treatment this season, meaning quarterbacks aren’t throwing his way often. How does he handle it? “Yeah, this year, most of the season, they haven’t been going my way as much,” Prater told our crew. “But I just try to make the best of those plays I get.” That he has. Watch our interview with Prater now and also check out The Next Level’s feature on how the Big Ten prepared several current pros for the NFL in this post.

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Week 6 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 6 of the NFL season is in the books, and Big Ten products got after it again. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday, Brent Yarina singles out the Big Ten’s best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus links to their NFL.com highlights. Watch our Next Level crew discuss former Illini Brandon Lloyd’s trade to St. Louis now and see Brent’s Week 6 winners in this post.

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Feature Story: Illini's Lou Hernandez

What goes on behind the scenes at the Illinois football program? Tuesday night our crew from The Next Level profiled Lou Hernandez, the Illinois strength and conditioning coach who has helped several Illinois players make an impact in the NFL. Watch the video profile here and check out our entire collection of Big Ten video feature stories inside, including this feature on Wisconsin’s strength and conditioning coach.

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Next Level: Penn State's Devon Still Drops In

What’s one of the reasons Illinois players had such an impact in the NFL lately? Tonight’s edition of The Next Level profiles Lou Hernandez, Illinois’ strength and conditioning coach who has helped several Illini become professionals. Also tonight: The crew interviews Penn State’s Devon Still and we look at how one-time Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh is faring in his first year as coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Join Rick Pizzo, Jon Jansen, Russ Lande, and Brandon Williams tonight at 7 p.m ET & again at 8:30 p.m.

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Week 5 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 5 of the NFL season is in the books, and Big Ten products compiled a number of solid performances. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday morning, Brent Yarina will single out the Big Ten’s best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus link to their NFL.com highlights. See his Week 5 winners in this post.

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Next Level: NCAA Football vs. NFL

Seeing as how “The Next Level” crew spends much of the football season analyzing the transition from the college game to the NFL, who better to consult about the differences between the two levels than Big Ten products in the NFL? That’s exactly what the show did Tuesday night with a piece featuring former Big Ten standouts on the Chicago Bears, including Anthony Adams, Gabe Carimi, Kellen Davis and Dane Sanzenbacher, among others. So what did the Big Ten products say? You’ll have to watch the feature to figure out. Also, check out our interview with Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy in this post.

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Week 4 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 4 of the NFL season is in the books. As was the case the first three weeks, former Big Ten players once again compiled plenty of big days. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday morning, Brent Yarina will single out the Big Ten’s best offensive, defensive and special teams performances. See his Week 4 winners in this post.

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The Next Level: Big Ten Alumni Teams

Tuesday night on “The Next Level,” we gave our analysts the fun task of picking Big Ten alumni teams. The rules were simple: Brandon Williams, Russ Lande and Jon Jansen were to draft a Big Ten product at quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end. The analysts made their selections (consult the poll below), and now it’s time for you, the Big Ten fan, to get involved. We want you to decide who drafted the best team? Go ahead and vote. And feel free to leave a comment about your pick at the bottom of the page.

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Week 3 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 3 of the NFL season is in the books. Much like the first two weeks, former Big Ten players once again compiled some impressive performances. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday, Brent Yarina will single out the Big Ten’s best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus link to their NFL.com highlights. Watch “The Next Level” debate the best current Big Ten NFL running back and see Brent’s Week 3 winners in this post.

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The Next Level: What They're Watching

Week 4 marks the final full week of nonconference football action. That said, our analysts on “The Next Level” tell you what they want to see Saturday before Big Ten play begins. One of our guys has his eye on the Illinois defense, which goes up against Western Michigan and talented quarterback Alex Carder, another wants to see Nebraska star cornerback Alfonzo Dennard’s return from a leg injury, while the final one has his sights set on a former Wildcat in the NFL. Watch the special Web-only segment now.

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Week 2 Big Ten NFL Stats

Week 2 of the NFL season is in the books, and just like last week, former Big Ten players compiled some very impressive days. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday morning, Brent Yarina will single out the Big Ten’s best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus link to their NFL.com highlights. See the Week 2 winners inside.

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The Next Level: Lavonte David

Tuesday night on “The Next Level,” Rick Pizzo, Jon Jansen and Brandon Williams interviewed Nebraska standout linebacker Lavonte David. A junior college transfer a year ago, David tallied a Nebraska-record 152 tackles last season to put himself on the NFL radar. But what about his size? At 6-1 and 225 pounds, NFL scouts reportedly question whether he can be an NFL linebacker. What does Davis think about that? “Personally, I think my size can perform at the next level,” he told our crew. Watch the entire interview now.

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Week 1 Big Ten NFL Stats

The 2011 NFL season got off to a great start this past weekend, and former Big Ten stars played a big part in the terrific opening act. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how former Big Ten players performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday morning, Brent Yarina will single out the Big Ten’s best performances, plus link to their NFL.com highlights. See the Week 1 winners inside and watch “The Next Level’s” NFL recap now.

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The Next Level: Kirk Cousins Interview

Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins joined BTN on Tuesday night for the season debut of “The Next Level.” Cousins, the three-time Michigan State captain, talked about his early NFL chances with Rick Pizzo, Brandon Williams and Jon Jansen. Cousins’ take on the ultra-competitive NFL? “You have to be able to play at a high, high level every day and work at a high level,” he said. That’s exactly what Cousins has done during his successful Spartan career, going 17-9 and throwing for 6,037 yards and 42 touchdowns.

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Jon Jansen Talks Tom Brady

Jon Jansen had quite the career at Michigan. The “Rock” of Michigan football, Jansen started a school-record 50 games, all at right tackle, during his time in Ann Arbor. These days, the 1998 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year is part of “The Next Level,” our weekly show dedicated to Big Ten players in the NFL and current conference stars who could have a future at, well, the next level.  Get Jansen’s latest analysis at 7 p.m. ET Tuesdays. And check out BTN.com every Tuesday afternoon as Jansen recalls a story or memory from his career. Watch now as he talks about Tom Brady.

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Tonight: Season Debut of The Next Level

Tonight another show airs its season debut, and it’s the kind of show that taps into the kinds of conversations Big Ten football fans have all the time. “The Next Level” tracks Big Ten players competing in the professional ranks, specifically the NFL. Have a look here at a bonus segment from the show taped just for BTN.com. Oh, and the show is on Twitter too at @BTNNextLevel.

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The Next Level: Joe Girardi and Nick Swisher

Life is good when you are the defending World Series champion. BTN spent some time with current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi and Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher to find out how competing in the Big Ten helped shape their careers as competitors. Watch now as Girardi talks about his time as a Northwestern Wildcat and Swisher recalls his days in Columbus as a Buckeye.

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