Over the years, the Big Ten has proven itself as one of the best conferences in college football. Across the board, there is so much talent on most of the teams in the conference (Looking at you, Rutgers) which translates to some pretty stiff competition, specifically at the top of each division.
We thought we’d have a little fun and pick one player off of each Big Ten team that we would prefer to see wearing Michigan colors rather than the team they play for’s.
Here is what we came up with:
Ohio State: QB Justin Fields
The race for this one is probably closer than it appears at the surface level. There is an incredible amount of talent on both sides of the ball at the school south of the Michigan border. Wyatt Davis, Shaun Wade, Thayer Munford, Chris Olave, and Zach Harrison would each be really solid options and some come from positions of great need. But the one thing the Wolverines have severely missed out on in the Jim Harbaugh era is elite quarterback play and Justin Fields is just that. With playoff experience already in the books and as a top-3 Heisman candidate for this season, Justin Fields is the clear-cut favorite in this hypothetical situation.
Penn State: TE Pat Freiermuth
Harbaugh is an expert at utilizing tight ends in offensive schemes and after the graduation of Sean McKeon, Nick Eubanks is now the No. 1 player at the position. While I am a fan of Eubanks, he is not as complete of a weapon as Freiermuth. For a team like the Wolverines who finished No. 81 in the country in red-zone efficiency last season, a threat like Freiermuth would be ideal for 2020.
Wisconsin: OL Cole Van Lanen
Who would have thought? An offensive lineman is the selection from Wisconsin. Michigan has a few gaping holes in its offensive line after four big men moved on to the NFL. The No. 1 graded offensive lineman in 2018 by PFF from Madison would assist in that issue.
Purdue: WR/AP Rondale Moore
If you look up ‘Speed in Space’ in the dictionary a picture of Rondale Moore shows up. Of all the players throughout the Big Ten that Josh Gattis covets, Moore would be sitting at the top, especially if he could stay healthy. Moore is exactly the kind of player that Michigan hopes Giles Jackson turns out to be. As a freshman, Moore caught 114 balls, racked up over 1,200 yards, and took it to the house 12 times. Now imagine if he was doing that in the Big House.
Northwestern: LB Paddy Fischer
Of all the great linebackers in the Big Ten, there may not be one better than Paddy Fisher. He is the entire package with covering skills, pass-rushing abilities, and a high football IQ. The man just eats up tackles in the middle of the field with over 100 tackles in two of his three seasons in Evanston. After the departures of Jordan Glasgow, Josh Uche, and Khaleke Husdon, veteran leadership on the defense’s second-level would be appreciated.
Indiana: CB Taiwan Mullen
While I love Ambry Thomas and Vincent Gray, the Wolverines could use a little more help in the position group. Mullen would be a spectacular No. 2 to Thomas. Last season, in 8 starts, Mullen held opposing wide receivers to less than 30 yards in all but one game.
Iowa: OL Alaric Jackson
Like Wisconsin’ Van Lanen, Alaric Jackson would be another highly-experienced and uber-talented offensive lineman to put on Ed Warinner’s staff. He’s earned All-Big Ten honors in all three of his collegiate years as a starter and was named a preseason All-Big Ten First-Team selection by Athlon Sports.
Minnesota: CB Coney Durr
The sexy pick from the Minnesota Golden Gophers would be wide receiver Rashod Bateman, projected by some as a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but he plays too similar to a role as Nico Collins. A position of much greater need for the Wolverines comes in the defensive secondary with Coney Durr. Durr, a redshirt senior, has two years of starting experience on his back now and was an All-Big Ten honorable mention last season.
Illinois: S Sydney Brown
The path is pretty clear set for Dax Hill to take over at safety filling Metellus’ vacancy, but Hill is so versatile he could play a more fluid role with a bit of corner being added to the mix if the situation were ideal. The addition of Sydney Brown would certainly help. As a sophomore last season he averaged eight tackles a game while being tied for second in the Big Ten for interceptions as a sophomore.
Maryland: WR Rakim Jarrett
Whether this speaks to the Terps or Jarrett, I would take this incoming true freshman over anyone else on Maryland’s roster. He fits the “Speed in Space” mantra of the Michigan offense and is the first five-star recruit of the Mike Locksley era. Having him for more than one season would with the potential to be an instant impact in the Wolverines offense makes him very appetizing.
Michigan State: LB Antjuan Simmons
Simmons has been a difference-maker since day one in East Lansing and will continue that tradition through his senior season. He has played in every single game in his collegiate career which gives him more playing time than almost every other backer in the Big Ten. With the loss of some key linebackers to the draft, Michigan could use a bit of Antjuan Simmons in their position group.
Nebraska: DT Ben Stille
Impactful interior lineman has been scarce in Ann Arbor since the days of Mo Hurst, and while there are some promising up-and-comers with Chris Hinton and Mazi Smith, adding another big lineman to the bunch would be beneficial. Stille has a career of 11.5 sacks and 80 tackles in his first 33 games with Nebraska. Based on who we skipped on with other potential interior lineman selections from the Big Ten, he would be a nice pick up for an added year of service for Hinton and Smith.
Rutgers: RB Isiah Pacheco
If you were twisting my arm for a Rutgers player, I would have to pick Isaiah Pacheco as the player I’d like. He’s probably the team’s best player and he finished second last year in terms of all-purpose yards on the team with 813. Pacheco ran for four touchdowns against Massachusetts and that production helps him make the list here.