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BTN's Tom Dienhart

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart covers Big Ten football all year. Check out these links:

Big Ten Links | 1-on-1 | RSS | @BTNTomDienhart | Facebook | Tom's Mailbag

Watch former Big Ten stars' 2016 NFL Combine highlights

The nation’s top draft-eligible college football players are in Indianapolis through Monday participating in the 2016 NFL Combine. [ MORE: Get all of our Big Ten pros coverage ] As is the case every year, there’s no shortage of former Big Ten stars showing off their athleticism at Lucas Oil Stadium. Names such as Jack Conklin (Michigan State), Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State) and Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), to name a few, are busy trying to improve their draft stock. It has been an eventful trip for several Big Ten names, too. There’s been good, like Jason Spriggs (Indiana) winning the

Big Ten links: Could Indiana's Yogi Ferrell make a run at MVP?

In today's Big Ten news digest, our writer wonders: If Indiana wins the Big Ten, could Yogi Ferrell be the league's Player of the Year? Also, Michigan State's Tom Izzo isn't worried about the Hall of Fame, we have a deeper look at the additions to Nebraska's football team, and one NFL GM is gushing over Ohio State's draft class. Let's get to the latest headlines ...

2016 spring football preview: Minnesota Gophers

Jerry Kill is gone. The Tracy Claeys era has begun. And, change is brewing … it has been for several months. The program is on solid footing, having been to a bowl each of the last four seasons. But the staff has been altered with a new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and offensive line coach. Still, there is momentum coming off a bowl win that capped a disappointing 6-7 season. Claeys let go offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski. Jay Johnson was hired from Louisiana-Lafayette to run the offense and coach quarterbacks, while Bart Miller was

Big Ten links: Catch up with Thursday's news digest

In Thursday's Big Ten headlines digest, we''ve got the following stories: Jerry Kill won't have a role with the Minnesota athletic department. Ever wonder which Big Ten players ran the fastest 40-yard dashes at the NFL Combine since 1999? Michigan Jim Harbaugh responded to another SEC coach. And here's one idea for streamlining the football recruiting process. Read on.

Black History Month: Sitting Down with Gene Smith

As part of BTN’s celebration of Black History Month, Howard Griffith sits down for an interview with Ohio State AD Gene Smith, who shares what Black History Month means to him. Watch more BTN TV features here.

2016 spring football preview: Michigan Wolverines

Jim Harbaugh’s debut could not have gone much better. He inherited a 5-7 team and turned it into a 10-3 squad that punctuated the season with a domination of Florida in the Citrus Bowl. The losses all were “quality,” as the Wolverines fell at Utah in the opener–barely, vs. Michigan State (in one of the craziest endings ever) and vs. an Ohio State club that no doubt is the better program … for now. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten spring football coverage ] The future bubbles with promise, as Harbaugh continues to fold in talent that

Ezekiel Elliott will wear these custom cleats at 2016 NFL Combine

Ezekiel Elliott will turn plenty of heads at the 2016 NFL Combine. [ MORE: Get all of our Big Ten pros coverage ] Between the former Ohio State running back’s do-it-all skills, his much-talked-about midriff, and his head-turning St. Louis/Ohio State-inspired Nike custom cleats, he’s going to be tough to miss in Indianapolis. Elliott, a St. Louis native, tweeted the pictures above late Wednesday morning. Safe to say, Ohio State fans are going to love the Buckeyes-inspired design. Elliott will work out Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. View the full Combine schedule.  

Watch ex-Illinois DL Jihad Ward throw down reverse dunk

Who said linemen can't dunk? 🤔😂 300LB CLUB lol A post shared by HADDY (@jihadward) on Feb 21, 2016 at 2:37pm PST Former Illinois defensive lineman Jihad Ward is looking to make a name for himself before the 2016 NFL Draft. Consider it done. Ward, who tips the scales at 296 pounds, posted a video to Instagram of himself throwing down a reverse dunk. Ward stands 6-foot-5, but it’s impressive to see a guy as big as he is do something like this. In two seasons in Champaign, Ward collected 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.