Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Recruiting: Wisconsin

Today we will hop back on the recruiting trail and take a look at my seventh-ranked Big Ten class: the Wisconsin Badgers.

The Badgers were able to land a couple of key recruits who could make an immediate impact. The first of which being WR Kraig Appleton. Appleton was ranked by scout.com as the 19th best overall wide receiver prospect in this years crop of talent. He jumped up a few spots in ESPN's rankings, sitting nicely at number 15. He was also a ESPN Top 150 recruit. This was a big catch for Wisconsin as Appleton also got offers from such powerhouses as Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Appleton has good size, 6'3, and seems to have shown good speed on both sides of the ball in high school. As judging by this clip:

Additionally, the UW players and coaches are high on Appleton's abilities:

Wisconsin's second most important recruit was also on the offensive side of the ball. That recruit is quarterback Jon Budmayr. Quarterback was a huge problem for the Badgers in 2008, and one of their focal points this offseason. QBs Dustin Sherer (1,389 yards 6 TDs - 5 INTs) and Allan Evridge (949 yards 5 TDs - 5 INTs) split time struggling through last season. Budmayr isn't going to be the answer to all of Wisky's problems, and will most likely have to wait in the wings, but he is a start. Budmayr was another big time recruit garnering attention and offers from such progams as Nebraska, Notre Dame, Arizona, and Illinois. But in the end, Budmayr decided the best fit for him was at Wisconsin. He may be slightly undersized at only 6 feet but ESPN seems high on him, ranking him the 16th best QB of the class. They also say that he could be cut of the Chase Daniel mold.
Wisky's ability to draw in two four star recruits and plenty of three star caliber players (11) places them seventh in my Big Ten rankings, just ahead of Purdue. They also addressed some key issues, and may have the receipe for more offensive firepower years down the road.
Photo from Scout.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kellen Lewis Moved to WR

Terry Hutchens has reported that Indiana head coach Bill Lynch has announced that Kellen Lewis will be moved to the wide receiver position. This makes room for junior-to-be Ben Chappell to take over the quarterback reigns full-time.

I really question this move. To me, Lewis is without a doubt Indiana's best playmaker. Now he has faced some problems in the past with suspensions, but, in my mind, you want to have the ball in the hands of your best playmaker as often as you can. And, no one sees the ball more than a quarterback. Lewis suffered through an injury and suspension plagued 2008 season, but the fact remains that he can still make plays with his arm and his feet. Lets take a look at each quarterbacks numbers in 2008:

  • Kellen Lewis: 110-193 57% 1,131 Yards 6 Tds 8 Ints 500 Yds Rushing 3 Tds

  • Ben Chappell: 80-153 52.3% 1,001 Yards 4 Tds 3 Ints

It's easy to see that neither quarterback had a stellar year. But, you must keep in mind that Lewis is only two years removed (2007) from a 3,000 plus yard, 28 touchdown-10 interception season. Not to mention 700 plus yards on the ground and nine touchdowns. Oh, and he also led the Hoosiers to the Insight Bowl. Now, granted these numbers were drastically inflated by the presence of WR James Hardy, but the fact remains that Lewis can make plays.

The only positive I see out of this move is that it might open up the field for Indiana to run some trick plays. Defenses must now keep an eye out for double passes and end-around throws.

Chappell will give the Hoosiers more of a pocket presence. For Indiana's sake hopefully Lewis' skills can transfer over to the receiver position.

So, what do you think? Good move or bad move?

Photo courtesy of the AP

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top 5 Most Improved Players in 2009

5. Mike Kafka
The Northwestern quarterback showed his potential in 2008, by occasionally filling in for the injured C.J. Bacher. Against Minnesota Kafta ripped off 217 yards on the ground. If Northwestern wants to have anywhere near the success they had last year they are going to need a huge year from Kafka.

4. Tony Moeaki/Jewel Hampton
A pair of Hawkeyes share the fourth spot. Hawkeye fans hope to finally get a full year out of the once prized recruit Moeaki. Moeaki only had 13 receptions for 144 yards and one touchdown while suffering through another injury plagued season in 2008. Hampton played a limited role in 08 backing up the Doak Walker award winner in Shonn Greene. Jewel showed some promise by scoring seven times and accumulating 463 yards on the ground. Hampton will need to be productive in order for the Iowa offense to be succesful in 09.

3. John Clay
With P.J. Hill moving on, the Badgers will turn to John Clay to be their workhorse. Clay showed plenty of upside in 08 by running for 884 yards and nine scores. He surpasses the 100 yard barrier three times and should have a breakout season in 2009.

2. Sean Lee
The highly acclaimed Penn State linebacker was placed on many preseason watch lists and all-Big Ten teams before tearing a ligament in his right knee last spring. Look for Lee to make a strong comeback and be the next in the long line of great PSU linebackers.
1. Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor's time is now. Pryor had a respectable freshman season leading the Buckeyes to the Fiesta Bowl. Pryor passed for 1,311 yards on the season. He had an impressive ratio of 12 touchdown to only four interceptions. As expected, he also showed that he was more than capable on the ground racking up 631 yards. For Ohio State to maintain the success of 2008 without key defensive players and Beanie Wells, Terrelle Pryor is going to need to live up to, and perhaps, surpass the hype that was heaped upon him coming out of high school.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images, CR Gazette, AP, Mark Selder, AP

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CFN's Teams That Will Tumble?

Collegefootballnews.com recently had a post on teams that will tumble in 2009. Some of the teams listed were obvious. No one doubts that Missouri and Texas Tech might enter a quasi-rebuilding phase after losing such stars as Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, Graham Harrell, and Michael Crabtree. After I ventured further down the list I was shocked to see the Iowa Hawkeyes on Pete Fiutak’s list.

From CFN:
Iowa Head coach Kirk Ferentz came up with a nice rebound season out
of the blue, but sustaining the success might be hard it he can’t replace the
production in the middle of the defensive line with Mitch King and Matt Kroul
gone. However, the rest of the defense has the potential to be fantastic with
almost everyone else of note returning. Offensively, the most attention will be
paid to the loss of Shonn Greene, but there are good replacements waiting in the
wings. So what’s the problem? The schedule. It’ll be tough to repeat the 9-4
record of last season with road games at Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State
and Ohio State.

Once again, no one doubts that the replacing of Mitch King, Matt Kroul, and Shonn Greene is a tough task. However following the 2007 season, one would have wondered how in the world Iowa would replace an all-timer like Albert Young (3rd in career rushing yards) and his back-up Damian Sims. Well, that problem worked itself out nicely. Additionally, remember when there was ‘no way’ Iowa would be able to replace the 2004 defensive line of Matt Roth, Jonathan Babineaux, Derreck Robinson, and Tyler Luebke? While there was a slight drop off (22 sacks in 04 compared to 15 in 05) Kenny Iwebema, Bryan Mattison, Mitch King, and Matt Kroul filled in adequately. Kirk Ferentz is notorious for his 'next man in' philosophy.

The difference between these two situations and the 2009 team is that those were complete overhauls, with the new starters having very little, if any, game time experience.
The 2009 team, however, returns a lot of experience in the two aforementioned positions. Jewel Hampton is ready to take the running back position and well…..run with it. He already has big game experience under his belt and has hit paydirt seven times in his young career. He will be helped out by redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson, who is said to be developing well in practice.

The defensive line has two key returnees in Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard. Ready to fill in for the departing King and Kroul is a combination of experienced players including: Karl Klug, Broderick Binns, and Chad Geary. Klug already has one Big Ten defensive player of the week honor under his belt. Although Clayborn may be suspended early on (assault charges), I don’t foresee a drastic collapse for the defensive line.

With the rest of the defense being stacked, and the offense having one more year of experience under them, I don’t see CFN’s prediction being accurate. I’ll give them the Penn State and Ohio State game, yeah those will be tough.

As for the other two games, Iowa should have beaten Michigan State on their home turf in 2008. Heading into 2009, the Spartans lose their starting quarterback and most of their offensive production in Javon Ringer.

And the Badgers? Camp Randall Stadium doesn’t scare me anymore after an under-achieving Wisconsin team needed an overtime session to squeak out a victory against division IAA (I refuse to say FCS) Cal Poly at home.
Photos courtesy of espn.com and Matthew Holst/Iowa City Press-Citizen, respectively

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fan Support Declining for Iowa Men's Basketball

With fan support dwindling, Iowa City locals remain cautiously optimistic as their hometown Hawkeyes (15-16 overall) square off against the Michigan Wolverines (19-12) at 1:30 p.m. today in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

“I haven’t had a whole lot of time to follow this season but in the past I was a huge fan. I’ve caught a few games on the radio this year,” Iowa City local Bill Pitzen said. “But I do hope we can get a win today.”

The recent emergence of Iowa’s sophomore guard Jake Kelly gives one University of Iowa junior a glimpse of hope even though he hasn’t followed as closely this season.

“Last year I went to a lot of games but this year I have stuck to watching them on television,” Greg Pressling said. “I have been impressed with the play of Kelly lately. With Kelly playing like he has I think we always have a chance, especially since we’ve already beaten Michigan once this year. But, beyond that first game I don’t see us advancing much further.”

The men’s basketball fan support has been in decline in recent years due to many factors including: a coaching change, style of play, and the lack of a marquee player.

“In the past I’ve had season tickets, but yet, I haven’t been to a game this season,” University of Iowa senior Nick Comptom said. “When I get out of class I will try to catch some of the game and be rooting for Iowa to pull out a win.”

During 2008-2009 season, Iowa has had to turn to special promotions in order to fill the seats. Such gimmicks included free admission to the January 29th game against Michigan State and reduced admission to most home games.

“I’ve always followed Iowa basketball closely, and I went to a lot of games in the past,” Iowa senior Blake Friis said. “This season I probably wouldn’t have gone to as many games if the tickets weren’t 10 dollars.”

Friis does think the Hawks can pull out a win today thanks to their streaky outside shooting.

The winner of today’s match-up will meet the number two seed Illinois (23-8) in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Photo courtesy of espn.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Blogger Challenge - Outrageously Bold Predictions: 2009 College Football

Here are some more of my OBPs. This time I will cover all of college football. If you missed the last post OBPs are Outrageously Bold Predictions. These aren’t necessarily things that I believe will come true but rather things that I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see happen. I would expect for at least a couple of these top ten to be true. So, here we go…enjoy!

10. The Big Ten will regain some luster
I see the Big Ten getting a little bit of their swagger back after coming off of a multitude of dismal seasons. One of the reasons that the Big Ten has lost its luster is because their ‘top dogs’ continue to get pounded in the big games. Ohio State is 0-4 and has been outscored 138-62 by their last four marquee out-of-conference opponents (08 Texas/USC, 07 LSU, 06 Florida). But, while I’m throwing around outrageously bold predictions I will throw OSU a bone and say they ‘upset’ USC on September 12th in front of a national audience. I look for Terrelle Pryor to come into his own in 2009 and Boom Herron to take over nicely for the oft-injured Beanie Wells. OSU will need some playmakers to emerge at the receiver position, and will also need to reload on defense. But then again, so will USC. A OSU win against the Trojans should/could be all the Big Ten needs to get back into championship caliber discussions. Also, I see the Big Ten as having two other top 15 teams in Iowa and Penn State. All three teams should help the Big Ten save face in 2009.

9. Big 12 defenses will adopt a similar “System” to Grinnell Basketball
If Big 12 defenses don’t stop the opposing offense on the first three downs they will ‘allow’ the other team to score in order to get the offense back on the field. This should lead to games in the mid to upper 100 point range and Sam Bradford will be the first player ever with 200 touchdown passes in a season. Okay, sorry enough Big 12 bashing.

8. USC will lose their bowl game
Pete Carroll and the Southern California Trojans have made a living off of feasting on athletically inferior Big Ten teams. The Trojans lose a staggering amount of talent in 2009. The offense loses QB and leader Mark Sanchez along with his large receiving target Patrick Turner. Unfortunately for USC fans they also lose the majority of their All-World defense. Luckily for the rest of the PAC 10, USC only returns two starters on the defensive side of the ball and Rey Maualuga and company will be terrorizing NFL offenses next season. This OBP could be completely off track for one simple reason. The 2009 USC Trojans are still the USC Trojans and their still coached by Pete Carroll. USC doesn’t rebuild, they reload. When one player graduates, or more commonly leaves early for the NFL, then there’s always a handful of high school All-Americans waiting in the wings for their shot.

7. Gene Chizik will finish 2-10 (again) and then be promoted to the NFL
The Gene Chizik hiring at Auburn left most people scratching their heads. After finishing up 2-10 in 2008 and 5-19 in his two year tenure, he was offered a job at Auburn? The SEC should be a rude awakening for the Chiz-meister. Another 2-10 performance might be stretching it a little bit, but I don’t see the Tigers improving much on their 5-7 2008 season. It should be a long road ahead for Chizik as he tries to prove the doubters wrong.

6. Oklahoma State will win the Big 12
Sure, Sam Bradford is returning in 2009 after winning the Heisman trophy. Sure, Colt McCoy is returning after leading the Longhorns to a one loss 2008 campaign and being name Heisman trophy runner-up. But, the Oklahoma State Cowboys should be right in the mix of the 2009 Big 12 race. The Big 12 should, once again, be brutal this year. While the Sooners and Longhorns will be the clear favorites, don’t sleep on OSU. Oklahoma State returns a staggering amount of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Key returnees include: quarterback Zac Robinson (3,064 yds 25 TDs – 10 Ints), running back Kendall Hunter (1,555 yds 16 Tds), and wide receiver Dez Bryant (87 recs 1480 yds 19 TDs). Hunter was the leading rusher in the Big 12 in 2008 and with Michael Crabtree in the NFL, Dez Bryant will be far-and-away the nation’s best receiver. The Cowboys do lose six players on the defensive side of the ball, but everyone knows the Big 12 doesn’t play defense anyway.

5. There will be no undefeated teams
The 2008 season finished with one undefeated team standing at the end. And that was the national championship winning…….err wait….no, it was the Utah Utes. Utah loses their starting quarterback, running back, and top three wide receivers. Therefore, a repeat is unlikely. The other teams that would be favorites to run the table are Florida, Oklahoma, and USC. USC will usually fall to at least one team that it shouldn’t per year, let alone traveling to Ohio State. They are also not as talented in 09 as they were last year. Oklahoma has a decent chance to go undefeated but they will have to get through both Texas and Oklahoma State. I see the Big 12 being too tough again in 09 to have an undefeated team. Florida has the best chance as anyone to go undefeated. The gators return superman (Tebow) and all eleven starters on defense. They also miss Ole Miss in 2009 (their only loss in 08). If Florida were too lose I would suspect it would be in either the SEC or National Championship games.

4. Tim Tebow will be arrested for a DUI
Only kidding. This is probably the most outrageously bold prediction, as the jury is still out on whether or not Tebow is human and, therefore, capable of wrongdoing.

3. Notre Dame will return to national prominence in 2009
Notre Dame is the team everyone loves to hate. The hating should only get more intense as the Golden Domers have a real shot at returning to the national scene in 2009. Notre Dame returns starting quarterback and emerging star Jimmy Clausen. Clausen is coming off of a 400 yard and five touchdown game in Notre Dame’s blowout victory in their 08 bowl game. Overall Clausen had a decent, although inconsistent, 2008 season. He finished the season with 3000+ yards and 25 TDS. Although, he did throw a fair amount of INTs (17). The Fighting Irish also return their top two leading rushers and a thousand yard receiver in Golden Tate. Additionally they are the beneficiary of a relatively weak schedule in 09 and I could see them rattling off 9 or more wins. Nine wins would be just good enough for the media to begin drooling over the Fighting Irish once again.

2. Florida won’t win the National Championship
Florida will be the odds-on favorite to repeat in 2009. The Gators lose no one on the defensive side of the ball and return their leader and QB Tim Tebow. Also, Urban Meyer is always a recruiting genius and they should be able to fill in their holes adequately. Florida should, and probably will be, the best team in 2009. But, it wouldn’t be an OBP if I were to give them the title in March. Here are some other teams that should be in contention at the end of the year: Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State , Whoever comes out of the Big Ten, Alabama, and Virginia Tech.

1. Archie Griffin will remain the only two time Heisman winner after the 2009 season
The 2009 college football season might be the most talent rich season in college football history. This year we will have the luxury of watching two Heisman trophy winners (Tebow, Bradford) for an entire season with both trying to become only the second player ever to win two Heisman trophy awards. Unless one of them has a remarkable season (which is entirely likely for both) I could see the voters trying to preserve the prestige of the trophy by only having one two time winner. Also, they could lose votes to players with similar stats as people will figure they ‘already have one’. Both Tebow and Bradford will be clear favorites for the most prestigious award in all of sports but there are definitely some other playmakers in college football. The logical third choice would be 2008 runner-up Colt McCoy. Some other players who may get some consideration is Okie State WR Dez Bryant. Also, Terrelle Pryor could have a sleepers chance if number ten were to come true.

So there ya have it, my OBPs for the 2009 college football season. Which ones do you think are most likely to come true and/or least likely to come true? What are your OBPs for the upcoming season? Oh, and...is it September yet?

Photo 10 courtesy of Tracy Boulian/The Plain Dealer, Photo 8 from the AP, Photo 7 from deadspin.com, Photo 6 from AP, Photo 5 from bensaunders.com, Photo 4 from, Photo 3 from midwestsportsfan.com, Photo 2 from photobucket.com, Photo 1 from here

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Outrageously Bold Predictions: Iowa

This is a post where I will throw out some off the wall predictions. These predictions aren’t necessarily things that I think will happen but I wouldn’t be completely shocked if they did. Some of them are more outrageous than others.
Iowa will win the Big Ten Conference
The Hawkeyes face a much tougher schedule in 2009 but, in my opinion, they have the pieces in place to make a run. Iowa should be one of the teams in the hunt for the Big Ten title including Penn State and conference favorite Ohio State. If Iowa can escape with a win either at Ohio State or Penn State and avoid the catastrophic losses (2008 5 Turnovers at home against Northwestern) then they may have a legitimate shot. Losing the likes of Seth Olsen, Matt Kroul, Bradley Fletcher, Mitch King, and Shonn Greene amongst others surely won’t be easy. Hopefully the Hawkeyes can take the ‘next-man-in’ attitude and improve on their 9-4 2008 season. I see Iowa finishing no less than third in the conference, if not higher.
Jewel Hampton will rush for over 1,250 yards and be at least second team All-Big Ten
Jewel Hampton finished up the 2008 season with 463 yards on 91 carries. He also scored seven touchdowns and boasted an impressive 5.1 yards per carry. If Jewel Hampton would get as many carries in 2009 as Shonn Greene did in 08 (307), and he hypothetically maintained his 5.1 YPC average, than he would finish the season with 1,565 yards. But, you have to realize that most of Jewel’s carries were in mop-up duty against inferior teams. However, I still think that he is capable of putting up a similar YPC average against stiff competition when given the chance (ex= Outback Bowl). I do think that Jewel will be splitting more carries in 2009 with freshman Jeff Brinson, which will make it harder for him to get the amount of touches needed to put up gaudy numbers. Additionally, true freshman Brandon Wegher could be in the mix. But hey, weirder things have happened…..for example, if I said a year ago Shonn Greene would win the Doak Walker award, I would have been laughed at.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos will become Iowa’s all-time leading receiver in 2010
Well, this one is more of a two year prediction. Currently, Iowa’s all-time leading receiver is Tim Dwight with 2,271 yards on 139 receptions. Johnson-Koulianos currently has 82 receptions for 1,121 yards over his two year playing career, which means if Johnson-Koulianos were to only match his numbers from his freshman and sophomore seasons than he would finish only 29 yards behind Dwight. Taking into account all factors including: remaining healthy for his final two years, continueing to improve under WR coach Erik Campbell, and gaining a trust with quarterback Ricky Stanzi, I could see this as a not so ‘off-the-wall’ possibility.
Amari Spievey will be 1st Team All-Big Ten and be on the Jim Thorpe watch list
Spievey burst onto the scene after a one year hiatus at Iowa Central Community College. Amari proved that he didn’t miss a beat by coming into camp and earning a starting spot (when most thought it would be Jordan Bernstein opposite Bradley Fletcher). In 2008 Spievey had 66 tackles, one forced fumble, and four interceptions including a 55 yard INT return for a touchdown against Minnesota. Spievey was also named to second team All-Big ten by the league’s coaches. I see him doing nothing but improving on these numbers in 2009, and perhaps gaining some national attention.

Keenan Davis will have a better true freshman season than Dominique Douglas
The sting of losing Dougie Fresh after his true freshman season is still a tough pill to swallow for Hawkeye fans. Douglas showed a lot of promise by grabbing 49 balls for 654 yards and two touchdowns during his true freshman campaign. I think Davis has the opportunity, barring a redshirt, to put up similar numbers in the 2009 Hawkeye offense. I see Keenan coming in and earning a starting spot, opposite DJK, by midseason. With an experienced Ricky Stanzi under center, the Iowa passing game should be even better in 2009.

Those are my outrageously bold predictions for the 2009 Iowa Hawkeyes. Obviously not all of these, perhaps not even one, will turn out to be accurate. But, it wouldn’t shock me if at least a couple were dead on. So, what do you think? Which is most likely to happen/least likely to happen? What are your ‘outrageously bold predictions’? Also, stay tuned for my OBP’s on the Big Ten conference, and all of college football.
Photos by Jim Slosiarek - CR Gazette - Hawkeyesport.com - Associated Press - Blackheartgoldpants.com (Respectively)

Purdue Recruiting

Today we will step away from the Combine for a bit and take a look at another Big Ten recruiting class. The Purdue Boilermakers were only able to land one four star recruit, but they made up for it by nabbing six three star athletes. This was good enough to place them eighth in my Big Ten recruiting rankings above Iowa, Indiana, and Northwestern.

The focus for Purdue during this recruiting season was on the defensive side of the ball. They landed 11 defensive players and nine offensive recruits. It wasn’t hard to see what holes the Boilermakers were trying to fix as they signed five defensive tackle recruits along with one defensive end. One of the DT was the 6’2” Eric McDaniel. McDaniel was the Boilermaker’s highest ranked recruit grading out at a 79/100 on ESPN’s scale. McDaniel was also ranked as the 26th best defensive tackle in the nation.

Purdue’s second highest recruit was also on the defensive side of the ball. Antwon Higgs is a 6’2” 243 pound linebacker out of Pompano Beach, Florida. Higgs runs a 4.93 forty yard dash and according to scout.com, the Boilermakers may look to move Higgs to defensive end. This would add even more depth on Purdue’s defensive line.

The final recruit that we’ll take a deeper look at is tight end Gabe Holmes. Holmes has the type of size that will have Purdue coaches drooling over his potential in their pass-happy offense. Holmes checks in at 6’6” and 210 pounds. According to scout.com, Holmes grew up playing basketball and didn’t start to play football until his sophomore year in high school. Which means there still could be some untapped potential as Holmes continues to learn the ‘ins and outs’ of the game. Gabe was ranked as the 26th best tight end recruit in the nation and was also recruited by such schools as Florida State, Ole Miss, Rutgers, and South Florida. Holmes may need to add some bulk on his 210 pound frame, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him redshirt in 2009. But, he may be a name Big Ten fans become familiar with in the future.

All photos courtesy of scout.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Combine Breakdown: Linebackers

Wake Forest’s Aaron Curry might have reaped more benefits from the 2009 NFL Combine than any other player, at any position. Curry left the scouts thinking Rey Maualuga who? Curry ripped off a freakish 4.56 forty time. This was easily the tops amongst linebackers (both outside and in) and was faster than the majority of running backs. Curry also showed off some strength by putting up 25 reps on the bench press which put him eighth amongst linebackers. And to round things out, he also tied for the highest vertical jump.

There were four Big Ten linebackers who competed in this year’s Combine. They were Wisconsin’s Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy along with Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman.

It was a ‘ho-hum’ afternoon for the Wisconsin backers (both outside linebackers). The only significant drill that the LB’s competed in was the bench press. Casillas put up a solid 24 reps (good enough for ninth amongst LBs) while Levy only managed 19.

The Buckeye backers faired a little bit better. After being outshined by Laurinaitis for most of his career (by the media) it was Marcus Freeman who was the most impressive of the Big Ten participants. Freeman tied with USC’s Brian Cushing for the most reps on the bench (30) and ran a very solid 4.74 forty yard dash. Freeman also tied with the aforementioned Curry for the best vertical leap. Laurinaitis ran a 4.82 forty and benched 22 repetitions.

My Top Five Linebacker Performers at the Combine:
1. Aaron Curry – Wake Forest
2. Marcus Freeman – Ohio State
3. Jasper Brinkley – South Carolina
4. Brian Cushing - USC
5. Stanley Arnoux – Wake Forest

Photo courtesy of the AP----All stats from nfl.com/combine