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Top 25 Football Players in the Big Ten, Part 1

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Ranking the conference’s best players, starting at No. 25.

Minnesota v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

It is hard to believe the 2016 college football season is less than two months away. It should be another interesting season in the Big Ten conference and there is no shortage of talent throughout the league this year.

From today until Friday, we will be unveiling our top 25 players in the conference, naming five each day culminating in the top guys being revealed on Friday.

So without further ado, here we go:

25. DB William Likely, Senior, Maryland

Likely is one of the best athletes and playmakers in the Big Ten. He started the 11 games he played in last season as a cornerback and kick/punt returner for the Terps. He has played some wide receiver, too, and is a threat to score whenever he has the ball in his hands.

He was a first team All-Big Ten performance last season as a returner and was named one of the top six most versatile talents in the country by NFL.com.

24. RB Mike Weber, Redshirt Freshman, Ohio State

The Buckeyes face a tall order replacing Ezekiel Elliott, but they do not rebuild in Columbus — they reload. Weber was one of the top running back talents in the 2015 class and Urban Meyer and company plucked him right out of Michigan and Michigan State’s backyard.

After an injury-plagued first year at OSU, Weber now appears to be the leader in the clubhouse to be the next great Buckeye running back and he should make his presence known sooner rather than later.

23. OL Brian Allen, Junior, Michigan State

Allen is set to be the anchor on an offensive line for the Spartans on a team that lost a lot of talent from last year’s College Football Playoff run. His brother, Jack, was a two-time finalist for the Rimington Trophy and was one of the nation’s top centers, a role that he will be stepping into this season.

Allen was named to the Outland Trophy watch list last week, which is awarded to the nation’s top interior offensive lineman.

22. LB Anthony Walker, Redshirt Junior, Northwestern

Northwestern surprised everyone in 2015 en route to a 10-3 season and Walker was a huge part of that. He broke out for the Wildcats as a redshirt sophomore and was a consensus first teamer on the All-Big Ten squad.

He led the team in tackles with 122 and was second in the nation with 20.5 tackles for loss, which is the third-most in single-season program history.

21. OL Mason Cole, Junior, Michigan

The first Wolverine of the list! Apologies to those who thought this would be comprised of only Wolverines...

All jokes aside, Cole is one of the most versatile offensive lineman in the conference. He has played his first two seasons at Michigan at left tackle, but it appears he will be sliding inside to center to fill the void left by Graham Glasgow while Grant Newsome holds down the fort on the blind side.

Cole has been a starter since day one in Ann Arbor for the Wolverines and has never missed a beat. We’ll see how his transition inside goes, but it should end up being a natural one.

That’s it for today! Check back in tomorrow for 16-20 on our list of the Big Ten’s top 25 players. Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!