Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, April 28, 2016
Big Ten spring football for 2016 is in the books. Which Big Ten players excelled? Check out my BTN.com's All-Spring Team, beginning with the offense. We'll post my defensive team later today.
I watched as much as possible. If you ever want to go back and review any of the available games , they're posted are on BTN2Go. Here are the links: Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin.
There are also a good bunch of highlights in the YouTube playlist at the bottom of this story. Click the menu in the top left corner of the video to access all of the videos.
OK, so here's my 2016 BTN.com Big Ten All-Spring Team
WR Janarian Grant, Rutgers, Sr. The guy was a stud in April and really shined in the spring game, making 11 receptions for 140 yards with a touchdown. Grant is a big play waiting to happen.
WR Saeed Blacknall, Penn State, Jr. He received the praises of coaches all spring for his work ethic and success in the new offensive scheme. He was honored as the Red Worrell Award winner as the offensive player who has best demonstrated exemplary conduct, loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement during spring practice. In the Blue-White Game, Blacknall had five receptions for 45 yards and a 22-yard touchdown pass for the Blue team.
TE George Kittle, Iowa, Sr. This is a program that has a history of producing top tight ends, including the likes of Dallas Clark, Tony Moeaki and C.J. Fiedorowicz, among others. Kittle may be the next. He?s versatile, able to line up as a wideout if needed. He also is the team?s best blocking tight end. Kittle will be a difficult matchup for foes. He shined in the spring.
L Dylan Utter, Nebraska, Sr. He started every game at guard last year but was asked to move to center in 2016. Utter will be a key to success for a young offensive line.
L Jamarco Jones, Ohio State, Jr. He turned heads in the spring to the point where he earned the key starting left tackle spot, meaning he will protect J.T. Barrett?s blind side. Is he the next star blocker in Columbus?
L Brian Allen, Michigan State, Jr. Ticketed to replace his brother Jack (four-year starter and two-time All-American) at center, Allen brings the same toughness and nasty attitude.
L Vincent Calhoun, Minnesota, Jr. A JC transfer from Southwest Mississippi CC, Calhoun is a hulking individual at 6-4, 335 pounds who can move people. He should slot in at right guard next to right tackle Jonah Pirsig (6-9, 316) and open some big holes. In the spring game, Calhoun and Pirsig were both on the Gold team, as their team's running backs rushed 40 times for 222 yards (5.55 ypc) and one TD.
L Michael Deiter, Wisconsin, So. He played at such a high level at center that three-year starter Dan Voltz approached line coach Joe Rudolph about sliding over to guard when he returns from a knee injury for fall camp.
QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern, So. He entered spring drills looking to improve his mechanics and leadership. Mission accomplished. The offense needs to get better after ranking last in the Big Ten in scoring (19.5 ppg) and last overall (327.1 ypg). The passing attack lacked big-play ability, as NU ranked last in the conference (138.5 ypg). Thorson is ready to pump some air into the NU offense.
RB Ty Isaac, Michigan, Sr. He enjoyed a nice spring in the first 14 practices, and then in the spring game excelled with runs of 14, 29 and 30 yards and showed what he can do. Isaac has slimmed down, is working hard and ready to fulfill the hype he brought with him as a transfer from USC.
RB Devine Redding, Indiana, Jr. He picked up where he left off in 2015, when he rushed for 1,000 yards. Redding will need to shine with Jordan Howard gone. He ran with toughness and purpose in the spring.
Read more of my spring football stories below.
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