Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 12, 2014

One of the most stunning revelations of the NFL draft was the fact Michigan State had just one pick (CB Darqueze Dennard) off a 13-win team that won all nine Big Ten games by double-digits. This was one of the top squads in league annals!

Guys like LB Max Bullough, S Isaiah Lewis, LB Denicos Allen, OL Fou Fonoti and DE Tyler Hoover, among others, weren?t picked. Just shows how good the Spartans coaches are at maxing out the talent they have. MSU won the Big Ten title game vs. an Ohio State team that had six players drafted, and capped the season with a Rose Bowl over a Stanford unit with six draftees. Amazing.

[ MORE: Dienhart: Big Ten All-Undrafted Team | B1G well-represented in NFL draft ]

The great Mike Griffith of thinks having one player picked may work in the favor of Michigan State in 2014.

Denicos Allen, who inked a free-agent deal with Carolina, said he's sure the returning Michigan State players had their eyes opened by the near-Spartan-less draft.

"It definitely is a jolt to them, the younger guys at Michigan State, they saw how good we were," Allen said, "so they see what's ahead for them if they want to be drafted."


It was interesting to see former Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez sign a free-agent deal with the Eagles.

You have to love the fit of Martinez?s athletic skills with the dynamic offense of the Eagles. You just know Chip Kelly will dream up some way to utilize and maximize Martinez?s talents. Or, Martinez could become a defensive back. But does he have a defensive mentality? Regardless, this will be a fun story to watch.


Interesting take on the Big Ten?s move East from the great Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald.

Shatel isn?t so sure where the league is going or what this all means for Nebraska. He isn?t alone. But it?s important to know that the Big Ten isn?t standing still. And that this move East had to happen. With Jim Delany in charge, you have to feel this will work out ? very well. At least I do.


In case you?ve been under a rock, Penn State?s James Franklin has been making a monster splash in recruiting circles.

Franklin has whipped Urban Meyer in some recruiting battles. This is going to be a fun clash to watch in coming years, as these two coaches will take Big Ten recruiting to new levels.

On the subject of James Franklin, here is a nice look at the impact his mother had on him. Hey, it was Mother?s Day yesterday, remember?


Hey, I also have to include a story about a player and his mother, right? Here?s a nice one on Purdue defensive end Ryan Russell and him mama. Russell?s mom epitomized sacrifice.

"She would wake up early and make sure I got up to leave for school and then I wouldn't see her until later that night, possibly as late as when I was going to sleep," Russell told Gold & Black Illustrated. "Every time I got home, I'd call her to let her know I was home and that I was back safe. She'd tell me 'Make sure you get your homework done,' and she'd tell me the chores I had to have done before she got there or if got there and they weren't done, she was definitely going to wake me up and have me finish."


Not good news for former Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson, who is now at Rutgers. He reportedly faces felony charges. This is no way to re-start your career.

The bad news continues to follow Rutgers.


Lots of good stuff from Minnesota coach Jerry Kill in this transcript of a recent interview on WCCO.


Here?s an oral history of the 2014 Northwestern hoops recruiting class. Why does this matter? Because it may be the class that flips the history of a program that?s still looking for its first NCAA tourney trip.

The class is headed by Vic Law, the first top-100 recruit in school history. Are you excited yet? I am.


My take: Interesting. But not surprising.

My take: Amen. Too much fuss/attention over both.

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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