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Devy Conference Profile: Big Ten East

Big Ten East is full of devy talent. @SportsfanaticMB tells you what players to watch, and what freshman to look out for.

Welcome to the Big Ten East conference, devy breakdown. For this article, I will focus on the entire Big Ten east. I will list in the order I expect them to finish for the 2020 college season, I will give a quick recap of the 2019 season. I will discuss any coaching changes or significant roster changes. The main focus of this article will be on the offensive devy relevant players on each team. As I discuss each player, I will place an (RK#), and (##) next to each one, and this will signify my devy ranking for them on dynsastynerds.com at the time I’m writing this article and their earliest possible chance to enter the NFL draft. I will also show their current ADP per Devywatch.com. Let’s check out a loaded Big Ten conference.

Ohio State Buckeyes

2019 Recap

Ohio State had a phenomenal 2019 season behind first-year head coach Ryan Day and transfer QB Justin Fields. They had a tough schedule but were able to beat Penn State and Wisconsin twice; they even came back from 14 down to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. A brutal last-second loss in the playoffs to Clemson forced them to miss a National Championship shot.

Coaching

Ryan Day enters his second season as the Buckeyes head coach with no significant changes to his coaching staff. Ryan Day and Ohio State finished 4th in the NCAA offense with a very balanced run/pass approach. Brian Hartline (WR coach) has done a great job recruiting and developing WR’s something to watch for younger players.

Vacated Positions

Multiple players entered the NFL draft from the 2019 roster, none bigger than RB J.K. Dobbins, leaving a massive gap to fill in the Buckeyes backfield.

Three WR’s, Austin Mack, Binjinmen Victor, and K.J. Hill, entered the draft and opened the position for some changes. While Mack and Victor’s professionalism will be missed, Hill’s playmaking will be missed the most. However, this will open up competition on this roster.

Players to watch

Justin Fields-QB (RK2) (2021) Devywatch ADP-1.95. Fields is my overall second player in devy right behind Lawrence. He will be in the discussion with Lawrence as the top QB drafted in the 2021 NFL draft. Fields arguably one of the best QB was in the country last year, he now enters his second year in this offense and should take another step forward. He will be one of the best college players this year, and at worst should be the second QB drafted in 2021.

Trey Sermon-RB Transfer from Oklahoma (RK20) (2021) Devywatch ADP-49.75. Sermon transferred to Ohio State from Oklahoma and was granted a waiver to play in 2020. He is a very talented back, and I think he fits Day’s system better than Teague. Sermon should see a bulk of the playing time in hopes of raising his draft stock. Avoiding injury will be huge for him this year.

Master Teague- RB (RK45) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 36.45. Teague filled in for Dobbins last year in blowout games and showed some talent. However, against the top competition Clemson, he faltered some in the playoff game. An injury in spring practice could see him sidelined some in 2020. He will likely split time with Sermon, which will hurt his draft stock some. He’s a sleeper for me if he enters the 2021 draft.

Chris Olave- WR (RK30) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 26.90. Olave will be the number one for Ohio State and should be their deep-threat. Olave is a great route runner and could eclipse 1,000 yards receiving this year.

Garrett Wilson- WR (RK23) (2022) Devywatch ADP- 21.95. Wilson showed some real promise in his true freshman season capped off with an incredible catch in the Buckeye’s playoff game. Wilson is believed to be moving to the slot for 2020, and I think he will end up being the best WR for the Buckeyes this year.

Jeremy Ruckert- TE (RK92) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 92.00. Ruckert has a ton of talent and is an offensive threat. He has a great catch radius and hands plus an impressive route runner. He hasn’t produced with the top TE in this class, but could easily be just as good when he reaches the NFL.

Freshman

C.J. Stroud-QB (RK100) (2023) Devywatch ADP- 69.45. Stroud isn’t the guaranteed future of Ohio State, but he’s who I would bet on. He is exceptionally talented and one of the top high school prospects. He will sit this year behind Fields and should be given the keys to the offense in 2021. A key factor to watch here is who wins the backup position for Fields. If Jack Miller wins the job, it could mean Stroud will likely transfer out.

Julian Fleming-WR (RK35) (2023) Devywatch ADP- 47.45. Fleming was the top WR recruit in the 2020 class. He is too talented to keep off the field and should see some playing time. I expect him and Stroud to be critical pieces of the offense in 2021.

Gee Scott Jr.-WR (RK71) (2023) Devywatch ADP- 109.30 Scott is my sleeper on this roster. He plays with an unmatched physicality and a precise route runner. He will likely sub in and get some playing time but be a threat on the outside in 2021, and I could see him being the best of this freshman group.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba- WR (RK 118) (2023) Devywatch ADP- 65.80. Smith-Njigba was another solid snag by Hartline, and he has solid upside and should produce with Stroud and Day. He is a physical specimen and has a high ceiling.

2020 Buckeyes Preview

With all signs pointing to an all-conference schedule, Ohio State still has some tough games. Getting by Penn State and Wisconsin will not be easy. I believe they are the better team and should win the Big Ten and contend for the National Championship.

Penn State Nittany Lions

2019 Recap

Penn State has continued to be a top program over the past few years under head coach James Franklin. While they may be disappointed with the result of the 2019 season, they finished 11-2 losing to Minnesota and Ohio State. They ended the year on a high note with a massive win over Memphis in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Coaching

Head coach James Franklin is not only one of the better coaches in the Big Ten but one of the best in college football. A new offensive scheme will be coming to Penn State this year under new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. Ciarrocca had been the O.C. for Minnesota for the last three seasons, including impressive numbers and a record season for Gophers QB Tanner Morgan. This new offensive scheme could mean big things for the play-makers of Penn State.

Vacated Positions

Penn State has lost a few players to the NFL draft and the transfer portal. Ricky Slade (RB) entered the transfer portal and moved to Old Dominion. Justin Shorter (WR) entered the transfer portal and moved on to Florida. Lastly, K.J. Hamler (WR) entered the NFL draft. These WR moves should open up a competition for the WR spot.

Players to watch

Journey Brown- RB (RK12) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 40.50. Brown broke out in 2020 after being behind Ricky Slade. From week nine on, he looked unstoppable, including 202 yards rushing against Memphis. I think Brown is unique, and if he enters the 2021 class could move in the discussion to be drafted after Harris and Etienne.

Noah Cain- RB (RK89) (2022) Devywatch ADP- 100.35. Cain is likely the backup to Brown, but I do like he is talented. He is being discounted in devy drafts and could split time with Brown. If Brown leaves, this could be Cain’s backfield.

Daniel George- WR (RKN/A) (2021) Devywatch ADP- N/A. With all the vacated targets, someone has to step up in the receivers group. I like George’s size and hands and has produced in limited outings for the Lions.

Pat Freiermuth- TE (RK124) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 63.35. Freiermuth could have gone pro last year as a true sophomore and decided to stay in school. He is exceptionally talented and has room to improve. He will be in the discussion as the top TE in the 2021 draft.

Freshman

Keyvone Lee- RB (RKN/A) (2023) Devywatch ADP-N/A. Lee is a natural runner with good acceleration and power. Brown and Cain should be the guys in 2020, but I could see Lee carving out some serious time in 2021. Keep notice and Penn State has done an excellent job of recruiting RB’s with Lee’s talent and developing them in NFL backs.

Theo Johnson- TE (RK133) (2023) Devywatch ADP- N/A. Johnson played WR in high school and should easily make the transition to TE. He’ll need to put on weight and improve blocking but has a ton of upside.

KeAndre Lambert- WR (RKN/A) (2023) Devywatch ADP-N/A. Lambert was their highest-ranked WR, 35th at the position in 2020. He is explosive and has great hands. Already an elite route runner and has great body control. I could see some early playing time in 2020.

2020 Nittany Lions Preview

Penn State is one of the best teams in the Big Ten. With a conference only schedule, their toughest test will be Ohio State. They have the talent to beat Ohio State. If they can manage that, I think they’ll go undefeated and have a chance for the Big Ten Championship and a shot at the playoffs.

Michigan Wolverines

2019 season recap

Michigan had another tough season losing three games on their way to a 9-4 season. To cap off the season, they lost in their bowl game to Alabama.

Coaching

Harbaugh hasn’t made any changes to his offensive coaching staff, so they should be running the same offense as last season. Something to watch this year though is rumor is Harbaugh is on the hot seat, so a bad season could mean changes are coming for Michigan.

Vacated Positions

Michigan lost a few players to the draft and transfer portal. Tarik Black,(WR) a former four-star prospect, entered the transfer portal but hasn’t committed to a team yet. The other key loss to the receiver room was Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR), who entered the NFL draft. These losses should bring an open competition to the receiver position.

Players to watch

Zach Charbonnet- RB (RK40) (2022) Devywatch ADP- 27.50. Charbonnet should be the lead back for Michigan and has a ton of talent. The only scary thing for him is Haskins is good, and the coaching staff gave him more work over Charbonnet toward the back half of last season.

Hassan Haskins- RB (RK165) (2021) Devywatch ADP- N/A. Haskins got a bulk of the carries down the stretch last season. Charbonnet is considered the better prospect and could steal the job away, but for now, it’s Haskins.

Nico Collins- WR (RK58) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 84.95. Collins outproduced everyone on the team last year, even with a questionable quarterback. While likely coming out in a loaded class, Collins could jump his draft stock with another good year.

Ronnie Bell- WR (RK181) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 120.65. Bell will likely be the two on this offense. I’ll be interested to see what he can do with a possible decent quarterback.

Cornelius Johnson- WR (RKN/A) (2022) Devywatch ADP-N/A. Johnson is likely the third for Michigan but has some of the best upside. One of the top SPARQ athletes at WR. Now is your chance to steal him as he is un-drafted in most leagues and will be a household name in 2022.

Freshman

A.J. Henning- WR (RK160) (2023) Devywatch ADP-N/A. Henning has elite speed and is a game-changer when the ball is in his hands. Likely won’t see much outside of special teams in 2020, 2021, and beyond Henning will be a special weapon.

2020 Wolverine’s Preview

While Michigan is starting to do a better job recruiting, I don’t believe they have the talent to compete with Penn State and Ohio State. They likely finish third or fourth in the Big Ten East in 2020.

Michigan State Spartans

2019 Recap

Michigan State had a down year by their standards. After a few successful years, they hit a snag finishing with 7-6 record overall and 4-5 record in conference and failing to make a bowl game.

Coaching

After the departure of Mark Dantonio, former head coach of Colorado Mel Tucker took over at Michigan State. Tucker focuses mostly on defense but brought his offensive coordinator with him, Jay Johnson. Johnson led Colorado to 388.5 offensive yards per game, ninth in the Pac-12 and 83rd nationally. He is primarily a run-first coach.

Vacated Positions

Cameron Chambers (WR) former four-star prospect entered the transfer portal but has yet to commit to a new school. Cody White (WR) and Darrell Stewart (WR) left Michigan State and entered the NFL draft. With the departure of these three receivers, the young group Michigan State has will now be thrust into the spotlight.

Players to watch

Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Elijah Collins- RB (RK77) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 117.95. Collins played so well last year he forced other players to transfer. Being in what should be a run-first offense, Collins should be the feature back for Michigan State. He’s talented enough to be in the NFL, but I don’t see him as a three-down workhorse.

Jayden Reed- WR (transfer from Western Michigan) (RK101) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 117.55. Reed transferred and had to sit out all of the 2019 season. As a true freshman, Reed had a 33% dominator rating and a breakout age of 18. He has a ton of explosiveness and talent and should be featured this year.

Jalen Nailor- WR (RKN/A) (2021) Devywatch ADP- N/A. Nailor, alongside Reed, could be a special duo for the Spartans. He has great vision and explosiveness. He is still learning the receiver position’s finer points but could be deadly for the Spartans this season.

Freshman

Unfortunately, Michigan State doesn’t have any standout freshman from its 2020 recruiting class.

2020 Spartan Preview

An all-conference schedule should help the Spartans some. They do have some talent on the offense and defense, and I think they will be competitive. That being said, I think they are still rebuilding the program and are in for another down season.

Indiana Hoosiers

2019 Recap

Indiana had, what is considered by many, a successful season finishing 8-5. With a fair amount of injuries, the backups stepped up in a big way and led Indiana to an offensive explosion most analysts weren’t expecting.

Coaching

The offense thrived under offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer. He left to become the Fresno State head coach. They replaced him with in house candidate Nick Sheridan. He coached the tight ends last season but did work closely with DeBoer, so many are hoping he keeps the same high flying offense principles.

Vacated Positions

Luckily for Indiana, they lost no significant fantasy players to the transfer portal or the NFL draft. However, Nick Westbrook (WR) and Donavan Hale (WR) did graduate. With two of the top options gone at receiver, it should allow for more players to get some playing time.

Players to watch

Michael Penix Jr. QB (RKN/A) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 119.0. Needs to stay healthy this year. He has talent around him and a new offensive coordinator. While he likely doesn’t have an NFL future, he could have a good 2020 season.

Stevie Scott- RB (RK90) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 77.95. He missed back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons by 155 yards due to injury. Scott can do it all, whether rushing or receiving. Another good season should see him enter the NFL draft, but I think his upside is limited at the next level.

Whop Philyor- WR (RKN/A) (2021) Devywatch ADP-N/A. Philyor displays good route running and very sure hands. Looking for a repeat season in which he led the team in receiving yards (1,002.) Having QB Penix Jr. back should help him. Phyilor will likely enter the NFL draft, and I think he could be a serviceable slot WR.

Freshman

Rashawn Williams- WR (RKN/A) (2023) Devywatch ADP-N/A. Williams is a four-star prospect who should compete for a starting spot out of the gate. He has flashed great hands, especially in contested catch situations. He is very physical player with good after the catchability.

2020 Hoosier Preview

With all their weapons returning from injury, this offense should be poised to succeed. Some questions remain about their new offensive coordinator. In the end, I don’ t think the Hoosier’s have the talent to keep up with the elite teams in this group. I could see a surprise third-place finish for this team though.

Maryland Terrapins

2019 Recap

Maryland started the season 2-0 and #25 in the rankings. However, things took a turn for the worse after losing seven straight games on route to their worst record since 2015 finishing the season 3-9.

Coaching

There have been no changes to the coaching staff for the offense coming into 2020. Both head coach Mike Locksley and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery will be entering their second season together.

Vacated Positions

Maryland did not lose any top recruits to the transfer portal. However, Anthony McFarland Jr. (RB) did enter the NFL draft. McFarland was their workhorse last year, and this will give players opportunities in a possible changing offense.

Players to watch

Taulia Tagovailoa- QB (RK171) (2022) Devywatch ADP- 115.35. Taulia transferred from Alabama to rejoin coach Mike Locksley in Maryland. He has shown improvisational ability and arm strength. Due to the transfer rule, he will have to sit for 2020 but be the starter in 2021.

Jeshaun Jones- WR (RK168) (2021) Devywatch ADP-N/A. Jones has shown some playmaking ability, but the lack of skill at quarterback has slowed him down. He missed last season due to a torn ACL and should have a bounce-back season this year.

Dontay Demus Jr.- WR (RK159) (2021) Devywatch ADP- 120.50. Demus has all the tools to be an excellent receiver. Much like Jones, he has been held back by poor quarterback play. Great change of direction and ability to make defenders miss. Even with the bad QB play last year led Maryland with a 33.7% dominator rating. Demus could be a diamond for late-round devy players and should breakout this year with competent QB play.

Freshman

Penny Boone- RB (RKN/A) (2023) Devywatch ADP- N/A. Boone should be the starter day one at Maryland as they lost over 70% of their rushing production from last season. He is a big back with a ton of strength. He has shown some elusiveness for his size and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

Rakim Jarrett– WR (RK70) (2023) Devywatch ADP- 75.30. Jarrett is one of the top receiver prospects in the 2020 recruiting class. Incredible route runner and should produce early. He will likely be the third option in 2020 but will be the guy in 2021, where Taulia and him should be able to pair up for some monster numbers.

2020 Terrapins Preview

Maryland’s offense will be hinged on how good their QB play is. They have enough talent around the offensive side of the ball that they should put up solid points. What makes this season harder is being an all-conference schedule, Maryland is likely in for another long season finishing at the bottom of the Big Ten East.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2019 Recap

Rutgers, unfortunately, had a horrible season. They didn’t have much to speak of on offense or defense and led them to an abysmal 2-10 record.

Coaching

Due to the bad 2019 season, coaching changes were made at Rutgers. Former head coach from 2001-2011 Greg Schiano is back to lead Rutgers. He also brought with him long time friend Sean Gleeson to be his offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Gleeson spent the 2019 season as the O.C. of Oklahoma State and brought with him a variation of their pass friendly offense. He is considered to be a great developer of quarterbacks.

Vacated Positions

Raheem Blackshear (RB) entered the Transfer Portal and left Rutgers to join Virginia Tech, leaving a starting spot open for Rutgers.

Players to watch

Peyton Powell- QB Transfer from Baylor (RKN/A) (2022) Devywatch ADP-N/A Former four-star recruit transfer from Baylor. Powell is an interesting dual-threat QB who put up some impressive numbers in high school. If given a chance, he could be an interesting sleeper.

Freshman

Unfortunately, Rutgers doesn’t have any standout freshman for the 2020 class.

2020 Scarlet Knights Preview

While things are looking up for the Scarlet Knights with a new coaching staff and already building a good defensive 2020 recruiting class, the knights don’t have the talent to compete with most of the teams in the Big Ten East this year. They likely are looking toward another one to two-win season.

This completes the Big Ten East devy conference preview. If you’d like to see more of my thoughts on devy players, you can follow me on twitter @SportsfanaticMB. You can also hear me on my podcast, the Fantasy Football Roundtable, where we discuss all the latest NFL news and prospects.

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