staff, December 19, 2014

As we await the Big Ten's record-tying 10 bowl games, asked a beat writer from every team to participate in a five-part 2014 regular-season recap.

[ MORE: Season-defining game | Top play | Most Improved Player | MVP ]

Today, it's time for Part V, the player to watch in 2015 for all 14 teams.

See what Big Ten beat writers said below.


Quarterback Wes Lunt. After a good start, he was derailed by injuries. When he came back, you could tell he wasn't quite right. But he will have time to heal up in the off-season and there isn't really another strong option at the position.


Marqui Hawkins. The Hoosiers just picked him up due to UAB discontinuing its football program. Hawkins, a wide receiver, originally committed to Florida out of high school. He was a major recruit who can help IU at a position of need.


Defensive end Drew Ott finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten with 7.5 sacks and 12.0 tackles. He made huge strides as a junior this season. The question for 2015 is will he have a running mate on the D-line? Iowa will be looking for two new defensive tackles. Offensively, wide receiver Tevaun Smith led Iowa with 559 receiving yards with 41 receptions and three TDs. He?ll be the lead target for an offense that will be looking a consistent thread in the running game.


Yannick Ngakoue and wide receiver Levern Jacobs.


Jabrill Peppers. If the highly-ranked defensive back is healthy — he only played 2 1/2 games during his freshman year, he could be a dynamic presence in the secondary, plus on offense and in the return game if there's a creative coach.


Malik McDowell. He was solid as the third defensive tackle as a true freshman. After a full offseason, he could be scary in 2015.


Freshman running back Jeff Jones.


LB Michael Rose. The sophomore was considered Nebraska?s top linebacker heading into the season, but a knee injury suffered in fall camp forced him to miss the entire year. Rose, along with defensive backs Charles Jackson (knee injury) and LeRoy Alexander (suspended) and defensive end Avery Moss (suspended) were all starters this defense played without in 2014.


Barring major offseason progress by Zack Oliver or Matt Alviti, this offense looks to be in the hands of Clayton Thorson, who will be a redshirt freshman.


True freshman Raekwon McMillan shared middle linebacker duties with Curtis Grant this season, playing especially on passing downs and against passing teams, and made more than a few plays that opened eyes. With Grant gone to graduation, McMillan will have middle linebacker to himself in 2015 and for the rest of his OSU career, and the Georgia native and former five-star recruit should be making plays every week.


QB Christian Hackenberg. It was a sophomore season to forget for Hackenberg, who worked behind a makeshift offensive line and had inexperienced receivers. How he rebounds for his junior campaign will be telling for the former Big Ten Freshman of the Year.


Ja?Whaun Bentley. The true freshman linebacker finished second on the team with 76 tackles. He?ll be the team?s leading returning tackler next season and a name Big Ten fans will hear for years to come.


Looks like Rutgers coaches made a smart bet on defensive end Kemoko Turay by offering a scholarship before he played his first down of high school varsity football as a senior. Turay had a team-high 7.5 sacks as a specialty pass rusher and played the run better late in the season. What will he develop into as a redshirt sophomore?


It's all about the running backs at Wisconsin. Without Gordon, Wisconsin loses their home run hitter and main catalyst of the offense. Corey Clement will be counted on to be the guy in 2015 for the first time in awhile, the Badgers may rely primarily on one running back. Clement has been waiting patiently for his turn and next season he'll get it.