• Joe Broback

Top 10 Big Ten players to watch in 2020

Just like that, the Big Ten is back. After initially canceling their season, the conference found a way to try to protect their players and play a full season of conference games. Without getting into the politics of how that will (or if it will) work, let's focus on the players. The Big Ten produces some of the best college football has to offer, and it's tough to pick 10 players with any sort of ease. Guys like Micah Parsons and Nico Collins sticking with their decisions to opt out open the door for others to jump in, so let's dive right into it.


1. QB JUSTIN FIELDS, OHIO STATE



Why you'll like him: If you like the top contender for Trevor Lawrence's spot atop the college football world, Fields is your guy. His weapons are once again loaded, and he'll add his own dominance to the mix. A player with great arm talent but can also add some runs into the mix. Fields doesn't need much of an opening to complete a pass, but luckily he'll have guys that can get open with relative ease.


Why you won't: You're not an Ohio State fan. Or a fan of transfers. The Buckeyes continue to run the Big Ten, and it doesn't seem like anyone's close to touching them or Fields. One thing you can pick on with Fields is his inability at times to move off of a read. With the top quarterback prospect spot still available, Fields needs to have an incredible year to overthrow Lawrence, and people outside of Columbus don't want to see that.


2. WR RONDALE MOORE, PURDUE



Why you'll like him: What's not to like about Rondale Moore? A small but mighty player who is the definition of versatile. Jeff Brohm's offense loves to revolve around their star receiver, and more touches for Moore typically means good things for the Boilermakers. You like Rondale Moore because you like an explosive player who can get the ball anywhere on the field and make a difference. You'll like Rondale Moore because he could have gone anywhere to play football, but he chose an underdog in Purdue.


Why you won't: You're one of the schools that wanted Moore but couldn't get him. Or you're always worried that he'll get seriously injured. The amount of touches Purdue gives him means more wear and tear on his body. With NFL teams worrying about running backs getting too many carries, Moore runs into a similar issue with his touches. If you're always worried someone might get hurt with every time they touch the ball, Moore might not be the guy, though how many people actually think this way?


3. CB SHAUN WADE, OHIO STATE



Why you'll like him: You're ready for the next great Ohio State defensive back. After producing a number of elite defensive back prospects to the NFL, Wade is next in line to continue that tradition. His success in the slot makes him a valuable asset to the Buckeyes, but also to his future team in the NFL.


Why you won't: Again, you're not a fan of the Buckeyes. It seems unfair that one team can have this many good players, but that's what happens when you recruit at the level that Ryan Day and his staff do. Guys like Wade are already on the roster, and he's just one player in the line of great ones.


4. WR RASHOD BATEMAN, MINNESOTA



Why you'll like him: Guys like Bateman don't choose Minnesota. Coming from the state of Georgia, he started getting Power 5 attention late in the recruiting cycle. Minnesota got his commitment, and he even turned down an in-home visit from Georgia head coach Kirby Smart to stick with the Gophers. You like a guy like Bateman because you appreciate someone trying to make their own waves, even in a place like Minnesota. You want to know why Minnesota's going to contend in the conference? It's because Bateman's a future NFL first rounder.


Why you won't: You're a Georgia fan. Maybe you just don't like the idea of Minnesota being good at football, because that just doesn't make sense, right? It's tough to find reasons you won't like Rashod Bateman, but being of the fan of a team that has to stop him will be the first on the list.


5. G WYATT DAVIS, OHIO STATE



Why you'll like him: There aren't many players that bring a nasty level of play to their game, but Davis is one of the best at sending a message. Within the rules, of course. Ohio State's skill positions get most of the attention, but the offense wouldn't be nearly as good as they are without guys like Davis. After opting back in to the season, Davis and the offense are ready to send a message again. Hopefully a championship message.


Why you won't: You think nasty means dirty, and you don't like seeing your guys driven into the ground. Davis is going to pancake a lot of grown men this year, and you might not like that idea. Oh, and he plays for Ohio State. That's always a reason for guys who play on the best team in the conference.


6. LB PADDY FISHER, NORTHWESTERN



Why you'll like him: There aren't many players in the nation that have the natural instincts like Fisher. Maybe his biggest competition in that regard is his own teammate, Blake Gallagher. Northwestern and Fisher took a step back last year, but they're looking to bounce back. If you're a fan of the underdog who's also a stud player, Fisher's your guy.


Why you won't: You don't want to struggle through a Northwestern football season. Many will just wait for the film to come out when the season's over because it seems like there won't be a ton of excitement surrounding this team. Fisher will be fun to watch, but will there be many others that join him?


7. DE GEORGE KARLAFTIS, PURDUE


Why you'll like him: Lookin for a young, rising star in college football? Look no further than the Purdue Boilermakers stud defensive end. Wide receiver David Bell can be another guy in that category, but he's not quite Top 10 worthy. Karlaftis has the frame of a future first round pick, and he learned how to use that frame to his advantage. With a full offseason in the weight room, you'll like him because he'll build on a great freshman campaign, and wreak havoc in opposing backfields regardless of who that might be.


Why you won't: I don't really know why you wouldn't like him. Maybe you're an Ohio State fan who doesn't need another stud wrecking your perfect season. Karlaftis doesn't have the ability to produce an upset like Rondale Moore, but he certainly can get close.


8. RB JOURNEY BROWN, PENN STATE*



Why you'll like him: There weren't many players who had a stronger finish to their 2019 campaign than Journey Brown. You're a fan of Brown because you're excited about the promise he brings to the table this year. New offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca did wonders with the Minnesota offense, and it seems like Brown's due for a big year in his system.


Why you won't: You're not ready for another Penn State running back to be this good. A downhill runner, Brown's going to punish a bunch of defenders this season, and you may not like it if you're facing him. Maybe you're a Memphis fan and you didn't appreciate the 202 yard performance he put up against you. With the news of Brown potentially missing the 2020 season due to a medical condition, we may not get an opportunity to see him play, but I had to include him in this list because he's that good.


9. WR CHRIS OLAVE, OHIO STATE



Why you'll like him: Because you like the Ohio State Buckeyes, and you can't get enough of your players in the Top 10. Olave, to many, is just hitting his stride, which is terrifying when you consider he didn't break 1,000 yards last year. One of the many dangerous weapons in college football. Olave and the offense bring a multitude of problems to any defense they face. He's kind of an underdog too, as the Buckeyes coaching staff found him on accident when they went to his high school to scout his teammate.


Why you won't: Ugh, another Buckeye? Yep, and you could make the argument that Garrett Wilson, Tuf Borland, and a few others deserve to be considered too. Ohio State's that good, and just like the theme, you won't like him because of his team affiliation.


10. QB TANNER MORGAN, MINNESOTA



Why you'll like him: TANNER MORGAN A TOP 10 PLAYER?!?! WHEN DOES THE MADNESS STOP? Here's the thing, Tanner Morgan deserves more love than he receives. What he's gone through just to be the starter for the Gophers is admirable, but he's not just a feel good story. All he did was throw 30 touchdowns last year, and there are many that overlook him because they still don't believe. Just how he likes it.


Why you won't: If you think Kirk Ciarrocca was the reason for Morgan's success. The only reason you don't like Tanner Morgan is because you don't believe he's any good, and that he's in for a down year in a new system. Also, the thought of a Minnesota quarterback being one of the best in college football might be a little unsettling.


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