staff, August 21, 2014

With the 2014 BTN bus tour in the rearview mirror, it's time to take a look back at my team-by-team player on the rise. These are the players who have a bright future. They might not be a star or consistent regular this fall, but you should learn their names and get to like their games.

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Illinois: LB T.J. Neal. The sophomore linebacker looks good in the middle of the defense. I could see him getting 100 tackles.

Indiana: LB Marcus Oliver. When I asked a defensive assistant what players he liked, he looked up and point at No. 44, Oliver.

Iowa: DT Jaleel Johnson. The 6-4, 310-pound sophomore is a load who can move. He was unblockable today. Sack after sack after sack.

Maryland: RB Jacquille Veii. He?s a powerful package of speed and power at 5-9, 187, a running back with go-the-distance ability.

Michigan: RB Derrick Green. De?Veon Smith was my pick after we visited camp, but Green is the former all-world recruit who has shed weight, looks good and ascended to the top of the depth chart.

Michigan State: WR A.J. Troup. At 6-2, 218, he?s a big target who runs well for a receiving corps that suddenly has its share of depth.

Minnesota: Donovahn Jones. The former quarterback could emerge as the team?s top wideout. At 6-3, 200, he?s an inviting target with speed. Think Marvin McNutt, a former Iowa star WR who arrived as a QB.

Nebraska: TE Cethan Carter. He?s just a true sophomore, but he could develop into a nice target on underneath routes for Tommy Armstrong.

Northwestern: WR Miles Shuler. We didn?t get to see the Rutgers transfer, but he?s a quick wideout who can turn a small gain into a big one.

Ohio State: LB Darron Lee. The young linebacker flies to the ball.

Penn State: WR DeAndre Thompkins. Here's a speedy option at a wideout spot that needs some help with Allen Robinson gone. Thompkins, who went through spring drills, could be special.

Purdue: OT David Hedelin. A JC transfer from Sweden, he has to sit out the first three games for a transfer issue. He?ll start once available. He plays with a defensive attitude at left tackle.

Rutgers: RB Josh Hicks. A true freshman with speed and instincts, Hicks is the real deal. But can he find time in a loaded backfield?

Wisconsin: QB Tanner McEvoy. Andy Ludwig gushed about the progress McEvoy has made. He is making a push and figures to have some role on this team.

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.