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BTN's Tom Dienhart

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

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Finish the sentence: Illinois linebacker Mason Monheim

Mason Monheim is a tackling machine, one of the conference’s more unheralded defensive players. [ GET TO KNOW: Drew Ott | Jordan Lucas | Nate Sudfeld & Joshua Perry | Mason Monheim | Joe Bolden | Leonte Carroo ] The Illinois linebacker has totaled 208 tackles over the last two seasons, including 111 in 2014. That’s strong. But he’s also known for the awesome act he did last year during fall camp in Rantoul. Seriously, check out that link. I caught up with Monheim during media days in Chicago and asked him to finish the following seven sentences. The first

Tom Dienhart's top Big Ten West head coach hires the last 40 years

Where’s Jim Harbaugh? Did you see him? Did you hear what he said? And so it went at Big Ten media days last week. Everyone with a pen and notebook was on the lookout for the new Michigan coach. Heck, we tracked the guy’s day! Harbaugh didn’t disappoint in Chicago. He charmed. He transfixed. He mesmerized. The kooky Harbaugh had them eating out of his hand—just as he had since being hired in late December. Harbaugh’s arrival offers hope for a Wolverines program looking to regain its national rep. How bad has it been? Michigan hasn’t won the Big Ten

Big Ten links: Verbal commits, most intriguing coaches list & more

It can be a prickly subject: Should prospects who have verbally committed be allowed to take visits elsewhere? All coaches have their own policy. Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com has an in-depth look at the subject and how Big Ten programs handle the situation. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio recently pulled an offer from a kid who was committed but still visited OSU. I mean, if a kid has verbally committed to you, why should he keep taking visits? *** The great Pat Forde of Yahoo! is out with his “Most Intriguing” lists of 2015. Up first: The 25 most intriguing coaches.

Big Ten players impersonate Meyer, Harbaugh & Franklin

Impersonations are great. Know what makes them even greater, funnier? When the impersonator knows the subject. [ MORE: Get to know Jordan Lucas | Get to know Drew Ott ] Big Ten stars Joshua Perry, James Ross and Jordan Lucas did impersonations of their respective coaches for ESPN at media days in Chicago. See it in the video embedded in the tweet above. Perry’s impersonation of Urban Meyer has to be the best. Nice work, Joshua! Perry also did a great job speaking on behalf of the players at media days:

Dienhart: Is the Big Ten on the brink of a golden age?

Woody and Bo. Bo and Woody. The names conjure images of dominance hearkening to the epic “10-Year War,” from 1969-78, during which Bo Schembechler’s Michigan teams and Woody Hayes’ Ohio State squads so dominated the Big Ten that the conference became known as the “Big Two and Little Eight.” Purdue? Indiana? Michigan State? Illinois? Minnesota? All the others? Hapless punching bags to the goliaths that were the Wolverines and Buckeyes, who routinely were ranked in the top five in the country while churning out myriad stars. Now, Ohio State and Michigan look primed to declare war again on the rest

Big Ten links: Danny Anthrop's return, Northwestern QB battle & more

If there is one Purdue player who needs to have a big season, it is wideout Danny Anthrop. He’s the one proven playmaker for an offense in desperate need of playmakers. Anthrop is coming off a knee injury that ended his 2014 season early. For what it’s worth, the wideoout professed his health to me in Chicago. He could have a very big season. *** Tom Shatel of Omaha.com likes the Big Ten’s scheduling concepts that eschewing playing FCS foes. This will make the Big Ten more attractive to TV networks with fewer mismatches—and it no doubt will strengthen all