Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 27, 2017


Spring football is in the books for the Big Ten. Now, offseason work begins, as teams point toward training camp this summer. Who excelled this spring? I watched all of the games. Check out my annual All-Spring Team.

WR Johnnie Dixon, Ohio State. He looks ready finally to live up to the hype he arrived with on campus in 2014. Dixon had five catches for 90 yards and two TDs in the first half alone of the spring game. Maybe he can be the Buckeyes' go-to wideout.

WR Juwan Johnson, Penn State. The guy was a stud all spring and looks to be the new big-play target for the Nittany Lions on the perimeter. The rangy Johnson made seven grabs for 81 yards and a TD in the spring game.

WR D.J. Moore, Maryland. On numerous times, Moore was singled out by DJ Durkin in interviews as one of the players that had the best spring. He has nine TD's through his first two seasons (tying Stefon Diggs). Look for him to add to that, as Moore is expected to be one of the top receivers in the Big Ten in 2017.

L Mason Cole, Michigan. After playing center last year, Mason moved back to left tackle and excelled for a line that has lots of potential.

L Conner Olson, Minnesota. There were only five offensive linemen healthy for a majority of spring ball. And Olson took advantage of his chance. He played every snap at center this spring and looks to have a firm hold on the position. His athleticism, strength and 6-4 frame could have Olson starting for the rest of his Minnesota career.

L Grant Hermanns, Purdue. He improved his size and strength last year while sitting out as a redshirt. Now, Hermanns could be primed to be the starting left tackle. He's a real sleeper at a position of big need for the Boilermakers.

L Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin. He played every snap of the spring game at center. And his development has allowed the Badgers to experiment with their most experienced offensive lineman Michael Deiter (who has started 27 games, including 16 at center) at guard and tackle.

L Sean Welsh, Iowa. He leads the way for a strong group of Hawkeye blockers that has four starters back. The goal in the spring was to improve pass blocking and develop depth.

QB Tanner Lee, Nebraska. He emerged from a battle with Patrick O'Brien to win the job. The Tulane transfer has a big arm and savvy. Lee could make this offense take off, as long as the line develops.

RB Lorenzo Harrison, Maryland. He had a great spring and capped it off with a 56-yard TD run in the Red-White Game. Harrison was on pace to easily break the Maryland freshman rushing record last season before his suspension. He is fully reinstate and expected to be a major contributor in Maryland's potent rushing attack.

RB Chris Evans, Michigan. This team needs a No. 1 running back. And a bulked-up Evans showed in the spring that he may be the guy who can carry the load. He has a burst to get around the end and can run between the tackles, too.


L Rashan Gary, Michigan. He showed flashes of why he was the nation's No. 1 recruit last year. This spring, Gary stepped up his game for a Wolverine line that lost some key players.

L Kemoko Turay, Rutgers. No doubt, the rangy Turay created a buzz this spring and looks to regain his freshman form. He flashed quickness off the edge and could be a force as a pass rusher this fall.

L Isaiahh Loudermilk, Wisconsin. At 6-7, 296 pounds, Loudermilk is a massive presence who played eight-man football in high school. He looks to have found a spot in the Badgers d-line rotation behind three veteran starters (Alec James, Conor Sheehy and Chikwe Obasih). He had three tackles, including a sack, in the spring game.

L Brady Reiff, Iowa. An ankle injury dampened the end of a standout spring for the younger brother of ex-Hawkeye star blocker Riley. Still, Brady Reiff was a force for a unit that needs help.

LB Cam Brown, Penn State. He impressed this spring along with Jarvis Miller for a group of Nittany Lions linebackers that looks fast and athletic. Brown had seven stops in the spring game. Another guy to watch is Koa Farmer, a former safety like Miller.

LB Chris Weber, Nebraska. He will be a starting middle linebacker who will be key to the Huskers' new 3-4 scheme.

LB Jermaine Carter, Jr., Maryland. He has slimmed down and transformed his body even more from last season. After leading the Terps in tackles in each of the last two seasons, Carter hopes to be one of the top linebackers and a team leader for the Terps entering his senior campaign.

DB Jacob Huff, Minnesota. P.J. Fleck often raved about the play of Huff, who will be an anchor in a retooled Golden Gopher secondary.

DB Khalil Bryant, Indiana. He got his feet wet last fall as a freshman; this spring, he emerged as a key player for what should be a good secondary in Bloomington.

DB Josiah Scott, Michigan State. He took advantage of enrolling early, impressing the coaches with his athletic ability. Scott played with the first-team in the spring game and had eight tackles with a pick.

DB Damon Webb, Ohio State. Buckeye defensive coordinator Greg Schiano thinks Webb is primed for a big season. Good thing, as this secondary lost three players who may all be first-round selections.



K Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota. P.J. Fleck makes his own goal post markings on the netting. And Carpenter's kicks had to hit Fleck's markings to count, or the entire team had to run. Carpenter was money all spring.

P Joe Schopper, Purdue. There are few "sure things" for a rebuilding Boilermaker program. And Schopper is one. He is a legit weapon who can flip the field and pooch punt.


Email Tom Dienhart using the form below.