BDS: Breakout B1G Players in 2015

Associated Press
Now that I've watched all the Spring Games that I could DVR, I wanted to go through and give people a look at players that I think could breakout in 2015. In order to determine a "breakout" player, I went through and did a few things:
  1. If you were on an All-B1G Media or Coaches team, I took you out
  2. Honestly, people know Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliot, Darren Lee, those guys are out
  3. There are a few players I don't think get the mention they deserve but are on an All-B1G team, I put them on the ineligible list just to bring them up, but they aren't on my 1st or 2nd team
  4. If you're a former 5-star recruit, people probably know you. Christian Hackenberg, Malik McDowell, Lawrence Thomas, Jabrill Peppers, and all you other 5-stars, you're out.
Alrighty, so that took out a lot of players actually. So how do I determine who is the 1st team and who's 2nd team, and who's honorable mention? I don't really know, this was a poorly formulated exercise. I can tell you it isn't strictly on how I expect them to perform next year. Guys listed before others aren't necessarily going to be better or worse. I don't think it's based on the level of "breakout" for a player either. So it's kind of a highly-subjective mix of both. Oh well. The point is to give people names to watch out for.

Oct 11, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Mike Dudek (18) rushes with the football after catching a pass as Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Leon Jacobs (32) chases from behind during the fourth quarter at Camp Randall Stadium.   Wisconsin won 38-28.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports
Some, like OL, I didn't fill out an entire two-deep. OL is a bit tougher to do quite honestly. Lots of guys could break out in that group, and with OL, things click at different times or people come out of nowhere and there isn't always a ton of rotation, so it's a bit more difficult to judge. There are also a bunch of guys at that position that will be what people already think they are (Donovan Clark, for instance); good players, but I wouldn't label them "breakout".

Hit the jump to check out the teams.


1st TeamTeamPosition2nd TeamTeam
Nate SudfeldIndianaQBJoel StaveWisconsin
Akeel LynchPSURBRodrick WilliamsMinnesota
Corey ClementWisconsinRBJustin JacksonNorthwestern
DaeSean HamiltonPSUWRDemornay Pierson-ElNebraska
Michael ThomasOSUWRAaron BurbridgeMSU
Jake ButtMichiganTECethan CarterNebraska
Josiah PriceMSUTEDan VitaleNorthwestern
Tyler MarzWisconsinOLGraham GlasgowMichigan
Brian AllenMSUOLJason SpiggsIndiana
Dan FeeneyIndianaOLBilly PriceOSU
Robert KuglerPurdueOLJosh CampionMinnesota
Jacoby BorenOSUOLChris MullerRutgers

Honorable Mention: Zach Darlington, QB, Nebraska; Robert Martin, RB, Rutgers; Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois; Jordon Howard, RB, Indiana; Geronimo Allison, WR, Illinois; Jordan Westerkamp, WR, Nebraska; Kyle Carter, TE, PSU

Ineligible Players: Cardale Jones, QB, OSU; Christian Hackenberg, QB, PSU; Ezekiel Elliot, RB, OSU; Kyle Kalis, OL, MIchigan

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America
QB - Nate Sudfeld is a cheap pick, because he was hurt last year. If I had to pick a guy to make a big improvement, it'll be Joel Stave, who had a pretty rough year last year, but I expect to improve a bit this year (others, such as Rudock, I think is who he is at this point). Wildcard: Zach Darlington. I don't expect him to even win the starting job, but be on the look out for him.

Luke Vogelzang/The Daily Northwestern
RB - Clement was a guy I thought about putting into the ineligible pile, but I honestly don't think enough people know about him. Lynch is far superior than his OL allows him to be. Jackson had a good FR year and Williams is a guy that didn't get many touches last year, but should fit in really well and showed good feet in the spring. The biggest wildcard is Indiana transfer RB Jordon Howard, who had success at a lower level before moving on to Indiana. Robert Martin is another interesting pick, as he was injured early after having some success for Rutgers.

 Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images North America
WR - Michael Thomas made a lot of plays for OSU last year, and could mold himself into a high level draft pick if he builds on that. DaeSean Hamilton is a good mix many of the attributes you look for in a WR and I expect him to become known to many defenses this year. Burbridge flashed at the end of last year, and will have to show that's a consistent thing. Westerkamp is likely Nebraska's best WR, but I expect Pierson-El to be used heavily and be a threat to take it to the house every play; watch for teams to pay a lot more attention to him this year.

TE - Lots of depth at TE in the B1G this year. Both Butt and Price are TEs that can block and go get the ball; Butt is probably a little more polished as a receiver, but there are few really good receiving threats that can block as well as Price. Vitale may be the best receiving TE in the B1G, and I expect Carter to be used more in this year's Nebraska offense.

Journal & Courier
OL - Indiana is the most underrated OL in the B1G, and people should start to recognize OL Feeney and Spiggs. Brian Allen, the younger brother of Jack, is an undersized OL that has great technique for his age and a whole lot of fight. Kugler is the best of the bunch at Purdue, and Boren is a key piece of the OSU OL. Marz returns as a stereotypical Wisconsin OT.


1st TeamTeamPosition2nd TeamTeam
Kemoko TurayRutgersDLChikwe ObasihWisconsin
Theiren CockranMinnesotaDLTaco CharltonMichigan
Willie HenryMichiganDLVincent ValentineNebraska
Austin JohnsonPSUDLJihad WardIllinois
Nyeem WartmanPSULBJosey JewellIowa
Vince BiegelWisconsinLBYammick NgakoueMaryland
Joe BoldenMichiganLBJosh BanderasNebraska
Leon JacobsWisconsinLBEd DavisMSU
Jourdan LewisMichiganDBNick VanHooseNorthwestern
Desmond KingIowaDBGareon ConleyOSU
Eli AppleOSUDBTyvis PowellOSU
RJ WilliamsonMSUDBMarcus AllenPSU
Jordan LucasPSUDBMontae NicholsonMSU

Honorable Mention: Darius Hamilton, DL, Rutgers; Conor Sheehy, DL, Wisconsin; Steven Longa, LB, Rutgers; Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin; Riley Bullough, LB, MSU;

Kemoko Turay
William Perlman/The Star-Ledger
Ineligible Players: Lawrence Thomas, DE, MSU; Malik McDowell, DT, MSU; Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska; Adolphus Washington, DT, OSU; Darren Lee, OLB, OSU; Raekwon McMillan, MLB, OSU; Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota; Von Bell, S, OSU; Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan; Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin

SHANE KEYSER Kansas City Star
DL - Still a stacked unit in the B1G, I've taken away quite a few players that I expect to break out this year or that aren't well known enough yet (Collins). Combined with some really strong returning players, the list above may still be the strongest position group in all the B1G. Turay is a DE/OLB that has great edge speed and can really put pressure on the QB. Cockran is a DE/DT tweener that cut some weight to regain some of his burst, and has the length to be a problem for a lot of OLs. Henry is an explosive DT that is set to come on the scene and be very disruptive at the point of attack. Austin Johnson was the unheralded part of last years PSU DL that is stout next to Zettel. Obasih has upside, and if the technique gets more consistent he has a chance to blow up. Charlton and Valentine are relative unknowns around the league that flashed a lot last year, and could take a huge step by simply adding consistency.

LB - Another loaded group. Wartman slides into the MIKE role after excelling as the ILB opposite Hull last season. Joe Bolden has the physical tools and flashes the mental ability, if it all comes together for him he could be stellar this year. Leon Jacobs got some starting snaps at times last year, but was mostly overshadowed by other Wisconsin ILB, I expect him to star this year. Vince Biegel has a chance to lead the B1G in sacks from his 3-4 OLB position. Behind him, you have a pair of MSU LBs in Davis and Bullough. Davis looks to build on last season, while Bullough looked very comfortable at MIKE in the spring. Banderas should help improve the consistency in Nebraska's defense, as he's a good one at reading defenses and shedding blockers. Ngakoue is an underrated pass rusher, and Jewell came on at the end of last season and should lead the Iowa defense this upcoming year.

Kevin W. Fowler/For the Lansing State Journal
DB - Jourdan Lewis didn't get much publicity as teams mostly targeted Michigan's defense in the opposite direction; but the less he gets targeted, the more people should start to understand why. Desmond King has been lost a little bit out in Iowa, but has consistently been solid. Apple may have been the best CB at OSU at the end of last year, while Conley looked like the best DB for OSU in the spring game. RJ Williamson impressed in the Spring after an up and down 2014 season for MSU. Nicholson looks to get more consistent in 2015, and has excellent athleticism to help. Jordan Lucas moves back to safety, but will help do it all for the Nittany Lions, while Marcus Allen is one of the best young safeties in the B1G.