Big Ten personnel nuggets

Pretty busy news day in the Big Ten as Iowa kicked off spring ball and two other coaches met with reporters.

Here are a few personnel nuggets of note ...


  • All 13 players hospitalized in January with rhabdomyolysis have been medically cleared for spring practice, coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday. Ferentz said the group will be brought along slowly and closely monitored as they get up to speed.

  • Six Hawkeyes players will miss the spring: wide receiver Marvin McNutt, defensive tackle Steve Bigach, safety Tanner Miller, linebacker Shane DiBona, tight end Austin Vier and fullback Brad Rogers. Vier has a serious back injury and Rogers is still being checked out after a heart ailment was detected in December. All the other players should be fine by the summer.

  • Linebacker Tyler Nielsen will participate in spring ball but not live scrimmages.

  • Ferentz said A.J. Derby is competing at quarterback alongside John Wienke and likely front-runner James Vandenberg.


  • Safety Ray Vinopal, who started six games last season for the Wolverines, has left the program and returned home to Youngstown, Ohio, because of family reasons, coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday.

  • Starting center David Molk has a hamstring injury and Rocko Khory is taking most of the reps with the first team.

  • Several other players are limited, including cornerbacks Troy Woolfolk and J.T. Floyd and running back Michael Shaw, and Hoke doesn't think Michigan will be ready for a full-blown spring game on April 16.


  • Like Michigan, Minnesota doesn't boast enough depth to have a full spring game on April 23, coach Jerry Kill said Wednesday.

  • Safety Kim Royston, granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing all of last season with a broken leg, is medically cleared to practice Thursday. Kill said the coaches will be careful with Royston.

  • Kill said all jobs are open and MarQueis Gray will need to earn the No. 1 quarterback spot.

  • Kill talked about finding out who can handle football and academics at the same time this spring.


  • Penn State updated its spring roster and there were a few interesting tidbits, including the official return of cornerback Derrick Thomas. The sophomore was suspended for most of last season but should figure into the plans for the secondary this fall.

  • The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News' Bob Flounders details the Lions' offseason weight gains here, but what really stands out is redshirt freshman quarterback Paul Jones at 6-foot-3, 245. Wow. Maybe Daryll Clark won't be the biggest Penn State quarterback in recent memory.