Football

Dienhart: 5 Jump Early to NFL Draft

Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus

Big Ten Blast: Jan. 18th Afternoon Update

College football players had until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday, April 26 and continues through Saturday, April 28 (get more info at NFL.com). The Big Ten saw five players (Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus, Iowa’s Riley Reiff, Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy and Edwin Baker and Wisconsin’s Peter Konz) opt for the pros, so here’s my quick look at each one along with some handy links.

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Who's headed to the NFL Combine?

The NFL Combine will run from Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis. It will be the chance for college players to work out and impress NFL executives in anticipation of the draft from April 26-28. The official list of Combine invitees has yet to be released by the NFL, but CBSSports.com has a list of 231 players who reportedly have received initial invites. This initial list includes seniors only and more players are expected to be invited in coming weeks.

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Illinois' Prosch to transfer to Auburn

Illinois's Jay Prosch

Jay Prosch Feature

(FightingIllini.com) University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced the transfer of sophomore fullback Jay Prosch to Auburn on Wednesday, a move that will allow Prosch to be closer to his family in the Mobile, Ala., area, including his ailing mother. Prosch was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Weekly on Dec. 12 and was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree this year. Watch our touching feature on Prosch and his mother now and read the rest of the release in this post.

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Watch our 1-on-1 interview with Urban Meyer

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Urban Meyer – Gerry DiNardo Conversation Part 1

BTN took you on a tour of the Ohio State football coach’s football office last week, and the tour guide was no other than new Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer himself. Meyer gave BTN’s Gerry DiNardo an up close and personal look during DiNardo’s visit to Columbus (watch that full tour in the video clip in this post). Right now, check out DiNardo’s one-on-one interview with the new Ohio State head coach.

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Badgers tab Canada to run offense

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Big Ten Blast: Jan. 18th Morning Edition

(UWBadgers.com) – Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema took another step toward completing his coaching staff by naming Matt Canada as the Badgers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Tuesday. Canada spent last season in the same role at Northern Illinois, helping the Huskies to an 11-3 record, a MAC championship and a victory in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

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Iowa's A.J. Derby to transfer

University of Iowa football player A.J. Derby has asked for a release from his football scholarship and will transfer from the University of Iowa. The announcement came Monday from Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz.

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Paterno gives first interview since dismissal

In his first interview since being fired by Penn State two months ago, Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in Division I football, told The Washington Post he’s “shocked and saddened” by the scandal that enveloped the place where he spent more than six decades. Speaking to Washington Post reporter Sally Jenkins, the 85-year-old Paterno refused to bash the school or say a bad word about the man at the center of the turmoil. Paterno said he “didn’t know which way to go” after an assistant coach came to him in 2002 saying he had seen retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a boy. Read the full story here.

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