Ranking Every Team in the Big 10's Skill Positions

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

The Big 10 Conference just recently announced they were going to reverse their decision to cancel the 2020 Football Season. Some high-level players like Rashsod Bateman have also tried to reverse their decision and sign a waiver to play. Other decisions are pending as well such as Rondale Moore from Purdue, who would be an enormous impact if he came back. There are some potent offenses in the Big 10, like Ohio State but there are also teams like Rutgers who will probably get blanked a couple of times.

14. Northwestern

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Noah Vedral SR SO 2. Artur Sitkowski SO

Running back: 1. Isaih Pacheco JR 2. Avery Young SO

Wide receiver: 1. Bo Melton SR 2. Aaron Cruickshank JR 3. Isaiah Washington SO

Tight end: 1. Jonathan Lewis JR 2. Matt Alaimo SO

Rutgers every year seems to be in contention for the worst Power 5 team with Kansas. That competition should still be on this year as even though they hired Greg Schiano as a head coach to bring them back to the glory days. Rutgers is going to have a revolving door at quarterback as they seem to be the only school in the country that can't develop a quarterback. Rutgers plays Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State this year and it wouldn't be surprising to see them get shut out in at least two of those games.

13. Northwestern

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Peyton Ramsey SR 2. TJ Green SR

Running back: 1. Isaiah Bowser JR 2. Drake Anderson SO

Wide receiver: 1. Riley Lees SR 2. Kyric McGowan SR 3. Ramaud Chiaokiao-Bowman SR

Slotback: 1. John Raine SR 2. Trey Pugh JR

The only reason Northwestern is ahead of Rutgers is that they can move the ball down the field. If Isaiah Bowser can play the entire season healthy, he could be on an All-Big 10 team. Peyton Ramsey is coming from Indiana where he lost his starting job to Michael Penix, who will be mentioned later. Ramsey will try to take this team back to mediocrity. This team has not been the same since the days of Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson and likely won't be that way for a long time.

12. Maryland

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Lance LeGendre FR 2. Taulia Tagovailoa FR

Running back: 1. Tayon Fleet-Davis SR 2. Jake Funk SR

Wide receiver: 1. Daryl Jones JR 2. Dontay Demus JR 3. Jeshaun Jones SO

Tight end: 1. Chigoziem Okonkwo JR 2. Malik Jackson FR

Maryland probably would've been 1 or 2 spots higher, but they are without their top 3 quarterbacks this year. Joshua Jackson opted out, Tyrell Pigrome transferred to Western Kentucky, and Kasim Hill transferred to Tennessee. If LeGendre can't get the job done, look for Maryland to go to Alabama transfer and Tua's brother Taulia Tagovailoa. They signed Rakim Jarrett, a 5 star, who is not currently on the projected depth chart but could rise to the WR1 by the end of the season.

11. Michigan State

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Payton Thorne FR 2. Rocky Lombardi JR

Running back 1. Elijah Collins SO 2. Anthony Williams SO

Wide receiver: 1. Jayden Reed SO 2. Jalen Nailor SO 3. Tre Mosley SO

Tight end: 1. Matt Dotson SR 2. Trenton Gillison SO

New coach Mel Tucker is going to have a brand new slate to work on at Michigan State. As you can see in the projected depth chart, most of them are underclassmen. Jayden Reed was a Freshman All American at Western Michigan before he transferred to Michigan State and should be extremely dynamic under new offensive coordinator Jay Johnson. The Spartans have a thunder and lightning going on at running back in Elijah Collins and Anthony Williams. This offense could be much higher on this list before the season is over, but the quarterback play will determine everything.

10. Illinois

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Brandon Peters SR 2. Isaiah Williams FR

Running back: 1. Chase Brown SO 2. Mike Epstein JR

Wide receiver: 1. Josh Imatorbhebhe SR 2. Ricky Smalling SR 3. Trevoh Sidney SR

Tight end: 1. Luke Ford SO 2. Daniel Barker JR

Illinois and Michigan State are close, but I am going to give the edge to the much more experienced team. Brandon Peters led a 28-3 comeback last year against Michigan State and looked amazing doing so. Reggie Corbin is gone and Chase Brown and Mike Epstein are going to fill that void at running back. Illinois has one of the most experienced receiver groups in the country with all three being seniors. They will play a big part in Illinois' offense that should be improved from last year.

9. Iowa

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Spencer Petras SO 2. Alex Padilla FR

Running back: 1. Tyler Goodson SO 2. Mekhi Sargent SR

Wide receiver: 1. Ihmir Smith-Marsette SR 2. Brandon Smith SR 3. Tyrone Tracy SO

Tight end: 1. Sam LaPorta SO 2. Shaun Beyer SR.

Iowa lost its 3-year starting quarterback in Nate Stanley and, it will be up to Spencer Petras to fill the void. Luckily, he has all of his weapons back, including an emerging star at running back in TJ Goodson. Ihmir-Smith Marsette and Tyrone Tracy are both extremely dynamic receivers who will be taking a lot of jet sweeps. Sam LaPorta could be the next in line for a school that has produced George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, and Noah Fant at the tight end position.

8. Purdue

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Austin Burton JR 2. Jack Plummer SO

Running back: 1. King Doerue SO 2. Zander Horvath JR

Wide receiver: 1. David Bell SO 2. Amad Anderson SO 3. Milton Wright SO (Rondale Moore could opt-in and change this)

Tight end: 1. Payne Durham SO 2. Kyle Bilodeau FR

Purdue's offense can be one of the most dynamic in the country at times, but often shrivels up against the better competition. If Rondale Moore comes back, he could immediately jump into the Heisman conversation and certainly the award for the most dynamic player in America. If not, look for a heavy dose of David Bell with the quarterback throwing for around 300 yards a game. King Doerue will have his moments, but this is primarily a pass-heavy offense.

7. Indiana

Quarterback: 1. Michael Penix JR 2. Jack Tuttle SO

Running back: 1. Stevie Scott JR 2. Sampson James SO

Wide receiver: 1. Whop Philyor SR 2. Ty Fryfogle SR 3. Miles Marshall SO

Tight end: 1. Peyton Hendershot JR 2. Khameron Taylor SO

Michael Penix definitely could make one of the All-Big 10 teams this year due to his ability as a dual-threat quarterback. Whop Philyor is another potential All-Big 10 player as he had 70 receptions for 1002 yards and 5 touchdowns last year, but he is going to have to improve when he plays better teams. Philyor had 64% of his receiving yards against Michigan State, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Purdue. Stevie Scott is a bruiser, who will help Indiana win games in the fourth quarter as the defense gets tired.

6. Wisconsin

Projected Depth Chart

Quarterback: 1. Jack Coan SR 2. Graham Mertz FR

Running back: 1. Nakia Watson SO 2. Jalen Berger FR

Wide receiver: 1. Danny Davis SR 2. Kendrick Pryor SR 3. Jack Dunn SR

Tight end: 1. Jake Ferguson JR 2. Gabe Lloyd SR

Wisconsin is going to have to find their new running back after Jonathan Taylor left for the NFL Draft. At first, expect a committee between Watson, Berger, and another freshman in Julius Davis. Eligibility doesn't count this year and we will likely know who Wisconsin's running back is going to be by the end of the year. Wisconsin doesn't pass much but when they do, they will look towards Danny Davis and Kendrick Pryor. Once Wisconsin finds their new running back, they will be higher on this list, but for now, they're at number 6.

5. Nebraska

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Adrian Martinez JR 2. Luke McCaffrey FR

Running back: 1. Dedrick Mills SR 2. Rahmir Johnson FR

Wide receiver: 1. Wan'Dale Robinson SO 2. Omar Manning JR 3. Kade Warner JR

Tight End: 1. Jack Stoll SR. 2. Travis Vokolek JR

The schedule for the Big 10 came out today and Nebraska was hit pretty hard with crossover games with Ohio State and Penn State. Adrian Martinez and Wan'Dale Robinson form one of the most dynamic quarterback-receiver duos on the Big 10. Omar Manning is a JUCO transfer who should provide a nice compliment for Robinson. Wan'Dale is a lot like Antonio Gibson in the way that he lines up at running back and receiver. Dedrick Mills also takes some pressure off of Martinez in the running game and adds another dynamic option to this offense in 2020.

4. Michigan

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Joe Milton SO 2. Cade McNamara FR

Running back: 1. Hasaan Haskins JR 2. Zach Charbonnet SO

Wide receiver: 1. Ronnie Bell JR 2. Giles Jackson SO 3. Mike Sainristil

Tight end: 1. Nick Eubanks SR 2. Erick All SO

Joe Milton is now the starting quarterback after Shea Patterson ran out of eligibility and will have to find his favorite target with Nico Collins opting out. The leading candidate is Ronnie Bell, who is more suited for a WR1 as Giles Jackson and Mike Sainristil are speed receivers. Where Michigan should excel is its running game, with Haskins, Charbonnet, and Chris Evans all forming a committee. If Harbaugh can figure out when he should run and when he should pass, Michigan could be undefeated into the Ohio State game.

3. Minnesota

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Tanner Morgan JR 2. Zach Annextad SO

Running back: 1. Mohamed Ibrahim JR 2. Cam Wiley FR

Wide receiver: 1. Chris Autman-Bell JR 2. Daniel Jackson FR 3. Demetrius Douglas JR

(Rashod Bateman still needs a waiver to play after opting out)

Tight end: 1. Jake Paulson JR 2. Brevyn Spann-Ford SO

P.J. Fleck has something special brewing in Minnesota. Tanner Morgan is a hyper-efficient quarterback, who knows how to get the balls to their superstars. They are going to pound the rock with Mohamed Ibrahim, likely more than Tanner Morgan is going to pass. Rashod Bateman is practicing with the team and is looking for a waiver to play this year. If he comes back, Morgan has his WR1 who probably could've had 1500 yards if this wasn't a shortened season. Look for a criminally underrated offense this year for the Golden Gophers.

2. Penn State

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Sean Clifford JR 2. Will Levis SO

Running back: 1. Journey Brown JR 2. Noah Cain SO

Wide receiver: 1. Jahan Dotson JR 2. Daniel George SO 3. TJ Jones FR

Tight end: 1. Pat Freiermuth JR 2. Zack Kuntz SO

After KJ Hamler left early for the NFL, Sean Clifford's top target might be his tight end, Pat Freiermuth. If it is not Freiermuth, look for Jahan Dotson to take the role of the top receiver. Journey Brown emerged at the end of the 2019 season as the top running back for Penn State but still should share some work with Noah Cain. Penn State could have one of the best running games in the Big 10, and maybe even the country.

1. Ohio State

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Justin Fields 2. Gunnar Hoak SR

Running back: 1. Trey Sermon SR 2. Master Teague SO

Wide receiver: 1. Chris Olave JR 2. Garrett Wilson SO 3. Julian Fleming FR

Tight end: 1. Jeremy Rucker JR 2. Luke Farrell SR

Who else did you expect to be at the top of this list? Ohio State has a Heisman contender at quarterback, a Biletnikoff contender at receiver, and a star transfer from Oklahoma at running back. They also have Garrett Wilson, who had an insane catch against Clemson in the College Football Playoff that was called back. He is going to step into the WR2 role for Justin Fields. Ohio State should be running up the score all season and should have no trouble getting into the Big 10 Championship game.

Who is your favorite team in the Big 10? Let me know in the comments!

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