Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, June 6, 2013

The NFL draft wasn?t that long ago. But, it?s always fun to look forward And that?s exactly what Audrey Snyder of is doing in a piece that examines the most intriguing Penn State NFL prospects. You never can have enough NFL-caliber players, right?

Snyder mentions the following Nittany Lions: WR Allen Robinson; DE Deion Barnes; TE Jesse James; TE Kyle Carter; G John Urschel; CB Adrian Amos. My pick of that group? Barnes. The kid had a heck of debut in 2012 coming off the edge, winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors after ranking sixth in the league in sacks. Now, he?s on a quest to notch double-digit sacks and to become the league?s top pass rusher.

MICHIGAN TRIFECTA: Could Michigan have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver for the first time since 2003?

Perhaps. In talking to coordinator Al Borges, he?s very excited about finally being able to use his full playbook. The personnel to run his offense is largely in place. And most of it is experienced. So, this could be one of the Wolverines? best offenses in a decade with the likes of quarterback Devin Gardner, running backs Fitz Toussaint and Derek Green, tight end Devin Funchess and receivers Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo, Jeremy Jackson, Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh.

KILL ON GOPHERS: Jerry Kill has been on the rubber chicken circuit. At a recent stop, he gave a ?state of the program? address. Here it is.

This is a program on the rise, coming off its first bowl since 2009. Look, Kill has won everywhere he has been. He?s not gonna stop now. He?s one of the best coaches in America. Kill has a system-and coaching staff continuity is one of his greatest allies.

ILLINI RECRUITING PREFERENCE: In recruiting circles, everyone loves to know which players have been offered by what schools. At Illinois, the coaches pay no heed to the lists.

It?s all about trusting your system and coaches. Illinois will be just fine.

HAWKEYE LEADERS: Iowa has named the players to its leadership group.

The six seniors are LB Anthony Hitchens, LB Christian Kirksey, LS Casey Kreiter, DB B.J. Lowery, LB James Morris and OL Brett Van Sloten.  The juniors include WR Kevonte Martin-Manley, OL Brandon Scherff and RB Mark Weisman.  The sophomore class is represented by OL Austin Blythe, DB Jordan Lomax, DL Drew Ott and QB Jake Rudock.  The redshirt freshmen are QB C.J. Beathard and OL Ryan Ward.

Congrats, guys. This is a big, big season. Your leadership is extremely vital this fall, as Iowa is coming off a 4-8 season.

WALTON IN ACTION: Check out this workout video of incoming Michigan freshman guard Derrick Walton.

See any Trey Burke there? Walton is gonna be fun to watch as he tries to help fill some of the biggest shoes in basketball.

IZZO'S PROS PERFORM: When it comes to NBA pedigree, ranks Michigan State No. 16. ESPN bases the rankings on the careers of players drafted since 1989.

The website named Steve Smith, Jason Richardson, Zach Randolph, Morris Peterson and Eric Snow as the top five draft picks the school has produced since 1989.

Here is the ranking.

HARDY HEADS TO GEORGETOWN: Tough news for Northwestern, as top hoops assistant Tavaras Hardy is leaving to take a post with Georgetown.

Why is this big? Hardy-the lone carryover from the Bill Carmody staff–was NU?s top recruiter in Chicago and Illinois. New coach Chris Collins didn?t need this.

CREAN ON SOPHOMORES: Here?s a nice video of Indiana coach Tom Crean talking about the improvement of sophomores Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Perea and how Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon already is helping the program.

I am excited to see how this team comes together with so many new, talented pieces like Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson and Luke Fischer, among others.


My take: I still don?t believe this.

My take: I say Nebraska going unbeaten will happen first.

My take: Yes, Bill O?Brien will last longer than the current Penn State president and A.D. But that?s not saying much.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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