Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, December 22, 2015

With the 2015 college football regular season complete and the start of Big Ten bowl season less than a week away, it's time to relive the season from the perspective of Big Ten beat writers.

[ MORE: Full bowl schedule | Polls: Pick bowl winners | Best of the Bowls | Ranking the bowls | Big Ten bowl bags | Bowl storylines | Get all of our bowl coverage ] recently asked a beat writer for every team to answer the same four questions, as part of our annual beat writers' season recap.

Today's final topic: Players to watch in 2016. Previously, we looked at the top plays/moments, most improved players and most valuable players.


WR Mikey Dudek. My first choice might be tailback Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who played an important role as a freshman. But the pick has to be Dudek, who is coming back from knee surgery that cost him 2015. If he can play like he did as a freshman in '14, the Illinois offense will make huge strides. On pace to be the top receiver in school history.

— Bob Asmussen (@BobAsmussen),



Camion Patrick. This junior college receiver was unable to receive academic clearance in 2015, but he'll enter spring ball looking to earn a big role either at wideout or at running back. IU coach Kevin Wilson delivered high praise shortly after the regular season, calling Patrick the best player on the team.

— Mike Miller (@MikeMillerHT),



RB Akrum Wadley. He started the season in the doghouse after a fumbling issue. But once he got on the field, he proved his value, rushing for 463 yards and seven touchdowns in only eight games.

— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochertman),



OT Damian Prince. The right tackle started six games and appeared in 10 while battling some injuries that had him in and out of the lineup. But the former five-star recruit showed improvement over the course of a redshirt freshman season where he lined up across from Ohio State's Joey Bosa, Penn State's Carl Nassib and Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun, and he's ready to take on a bigger role on the offensive line and the team moving forward.

— Daniel Gallen (@danieljtgallen),



TE Jake Butt. I have to go with Butt here as his return to Michigan for his senior season is a huge, huge victory for Michigan. He's going to be the best tight end in the conference and one can make an argument that he is also the best in the country heading into next season. Add another season of practically the same offense returning sans a quarterback and Butt could do some serious damage next season.

— Joshua Henschke (@HenschkeScout),



RB LJ Scott. Witness what he did as a true freshman and project what he'll be after an offseason in the weight room and with a full grasp of MSU's offense. He might be scary.

— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode),



TE Brandon Lingen. Lingen emerged late in his sophomore season as the type of impact tight end Maxx Williams was before jumping to the NFL. In a three-game stretch against Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, Lingen had 15 catches for 266 yards and a touchdown.

— Joe Christensen (@JoeCStrib),



QB Tommy Armstrong. Easy. In a big year for Mike Riley's program, he needs a consistent, stable quarterback. Will senior year motivate Armstrong? Will the presence of freshman Patrick O'Brien? Can Riley work out Armstrong's decision-making issues? Stay tuned.

— Tom Shatel (@tomshatelOWH),



QB Clayton Thorson. It has to be the young quarterback (though I think Nate Hall could be ready to break out). Thorson will have to make strides as a sophomore for the offense to be respectable.

— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell),



RB Curtis Samuel. The sophomore got lost in the H-back and running back shuffle and also battled minor injuries. Next year he might replace Ezekiel Elliott at tailback as the most dynamic player on the offense.

— Doug Lesmerises (@DougLesmerises),



RB Saquon Barkley. The bright-eyed freshman turned heads as soon as he arrived on campus and by the end of the season his hurdle, spin move and jukes became the norm. Barkley broke Penn State?s freshman rushing record with 1,007 yards despite missing 2.5 games due to injury and getting just one carry in the opener.

— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4),



LB Ja'Whaun Bentley. Would love to pick a quarterback, but we don't know who will be under center. Bentley returns from ACL surgery and will need a big season to help the defense show improvement.

— Mike Carmin (@carminjc)



DT Darius Hamilton. A likely three-time team captain, Hamilton should be granted a redshirt after missing all but one game with a knee injury during his true senior season. How will the future NFL hopeful bounce back? For someone less proven, look at dynamic kick returner Janarion Grant, who needs to become more of a receiving threat in Carroo?s absence.

— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy),



QB Alex Hornibrook. A major focus this offseason will be finding a replacement for senior quarterback Joel Stave. Among the contenders will be true freshman Alex Hornibrook, who garnered plenty of praise from the coaching staff during spring practice as an early enrollee and again in fall camp.

— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin),