Maize n Brew continues its preview of the Big Ten conference with a look at the three key players for the Northwestern Wildcats, our team of the week.
Justin Jackson, sophomore running back
Nobody knows who exactly will start at quarterback for the Wildcats this season, but the running back position belongs to one man, and one man only. Justin Jackson will be the centerpiece to the offense after finishing fourth among freshman from Power Five schools in all purpose yards per game last season. (98.9)
The key to stopping Northwestern will be shutting down Jackson, who had six 100 yard games in 2014.
Christian Jones, senior wide receiver
Northwestern missed Christian Jones in 2014, who was dealing with an ACL injury. The team's leading wide receiver in 2012-13 will need to return to the field and give the production that fans are used to seeing out of him when healthy.
As mentioned above, the quarterback position is a big question mark, so he will be relied on as a crutch while Pat Fitzgerald breaks in a new signal-caller.
Nick VanHoose, senior cornerback
VanHoose is a guy I would refer to as a "football player," meaning that he is everywhere on the field and can make an impact in multiple facets of the game. He has five career interceptions and 25 passes broken up and has also blocked a handful of kicks on special teams.
I like what he brings to the table and expect him to be one of the Big Ten's best in the secondary in 2015.