What would it be like to move to a new country, play one year of high school football, and then go on to become one of the greatest placekickers in NFL history? That’s exactly what happened with former Michigan State All-American kicker Morten Andersen. I recently spoke with Andersen and asked him to share some of his best, untold stories during his playing days at Michigan State.
Travel across the country for an NBA pre-draft workout, or walk down the stage and receive your college diploma? That’s the dilemma former Northwestern basketball standout John Shurna faced following his senior year. I recently spoke with Shurna over the phone as he shared that story and others in my latest installment of “Big Ten Tales.”
Have you heard the story about the time former Michigan basketball player Zack Novak convinced everyone at a party that he was Denard Robinson? I recently spoke with Novak by phone to hear this story and others as the Michigan graduate now plays professional basketball in the Netherlands.
What’s the best way to settle a friendly argument over what type of music to play in the locker room? For former Ohio State basketball star Scoonie Penn and his Buckeye teammates, the solution was wrestling. I met Penn in the Big Ten Network studio to hear that story and others from his Ohio State playing days for my latest Big Ten Tales.
Over the past 15 years, Purdue has developed a “Den of Defensive Ends” by producing an outstanding group of defensive ends that include nine future NFL players. That tradition started with Rosevelt Colvin, who racked up a school-record 35 sacks in his four years at Purdue.
I remember watching Brian Butch score, rebound, and defend in the 2003 McDonald’s All-American Game and he looked exactly like a kid that would thrive in Bo Ryan’s offensive system at Wisconsin. This was a high school all-star game that featured LeBron James, Chris Paul, Luol Deng and Charlie Villanueva. And Butch, a 6-foot-11 standout from Appleton, Wisconsin, held his own.
Move on to the real world or continue to play college sports? That’s the dilemma former Gopher standout Derek Rackley faced after receiving his undergraduate degree from Minnesota. I sat down one-on-one with Rackley earlier this month and asked him to share his best story from his playing days under former head coach and current BTN analyst, Glen Mason.
What was it like playing for Nick Saban at Michigan State before his days coaching in the NFL and SEC? Former Michigan State quarterback Tony Banks experienced that firsthand during his senior season with the Spartans. I sat down with Banks at the Big Ten Network after he finished shooting a segment of “BTN Football Report” and asked him to tell me some of his best memories from his playing days at Michigan State in my latest installment of “Big Ten Tales.”
What would it be like to grow up in sunny Florida and then move across the country to play college football in the Midwest? Former Northwestern standout Chris Martin knows a thing or two about that. I sat down with Martin at the Big Ten Network studio here in Chicago and asked him to tell me a few of his best untold stories during his collegiate playing days at Northwestern.
I remember when Antwaan Randle El first hit the college football scene back in 1998 as an undersized quarterback at Indiana, a school known more for basketball than football. Randle El wasn’t a traditional college pocket quarterback, but instead he could throw, run and catch. I talked to Randle El about his Indiana days in my latest installment of “Big Ten Tales.”
Have you heard the story about the time Chuck Long made a mess on Hayden Fry’s clothes? Let me set this up: I met Long in the lobby at the Big Ten Network headquarters in Chicago to get him to tell me a good story from his days as Iowa’s quarterback. After his five-year NFL career and 16 seasons as a college coach, Long has put his coaching plans on hold and now serves as a co-host for #BTNLive, one of several shows on BTN.
Everywhere Keith Smart goes, it seems, someone wants to talk about “The Shot.” It’s to be expected, though. After all, Smart was the one who hit the memorable baseline jumper in the final seconds of the 1987 national championship game to lift Indiana past Syracuse. Watch Smart’s iconic play here. Since that day, Smart went on to play pro ball, including one season in the NBA, and now has entered the coaching ranks, most recently serving as the Golden State Warriors head coach last season. Watch now as we ask the former Hoosier about his greatest Indiana highlight, excluding the shot, and his best Bob Knight story.
Former Michigan State standout Tony Banks was in the studio today getting ready for the Big Ten Football Report. With the NFL opening weekend underway, we asked Tony about what he remembers most from his first NFL game. Watch now as Tony recounts the first time he ever called a play in the NFL, as a quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, and discusses his personal growth and excitement for the game.
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.