NCF Nation: Donald Washington
Ohio State held a team meeting Monday morning to announce the change, but several current and former players have tweeted about Tressel's departure. Most of the reaction is very positive.
Here's a look at some of the comments:
- Center Mike Brewster: Coach Tressel was one of the most honorable men I ever had the chance of being around..he taught me endless life lessons
- Tight end Jake Stoneburner: Tress taught me life lessons and how to become a man. I will forever be grateful that I played for such a great man. He is irreplaceable.
- Left tackle Mike Adams: #coachtress is what young people everywhere should strive to be! What don't break us will make us!
- Linebacker Andrew Sweat: You have done a tremendous amount for us as football players but more importantly developing us as men. Thanks
- Linebacker Etienne Sabino: I have a tremendous amount of respect for. Coach Tressel ..Hate to see this happen
- Running back Jordan Hall: So much love for coach tress. Promise no team wanna play us .#onamission
- Running back Jaamal Berry: Still love you coach Tress were going to win it all for you and #BuckeyeNation
- Wide receiver Chris Fields: This is definitely somethin I did not wanna wake up too!
- Cornerback Travis Howard: This will make us stronger as a team aNd tougher as individuals we gone pull this together and make it happen #beastmode
- Former cornerback Donald Washington: #CoachTress deserves a statue ... I would love to be suiting up for the #bucks with all the bs going on! I gotta feeling the Buckeyes are gon be untamed this fall!
- Former defensive end Cameron Heyward: Sad day to be a buckeye. #coach tressel you will be missed. No one understands what that man has taught me and done for me
- Former tight end Jake Ballard: Jim Tressel is one of the best human beings I have ever met. All he ever did was care and help people. #BuckeyeNation lost a great coach!!
- Former punter Jon Thoma: TRY to find a team who is gonna play harder than the Bucks this year. No mercy. Everybody dies.
- Former running back Chris Wells: say it aint sooo!
There are also these notable tweets:
- Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin: The head of the scarlet and grey Demon has been cut off!
- Michigan cornerback Troy Woolfolk: Tressel resigned, well I guess it got too hot in the kitchen. Lol
- Former Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga: @OfficialAJHawk are you going to help select the new coach at OSU. I am sure they will be askig for your professional opinion.
- Former Michigan running back Mike Hart: Great day for America! Sad day 4 Big 10, Hate OSU but tressel was a great coach! Would rather beat them when he's the coach than some1 else
- Former Ohio State receiver Ray Small: Lol what y'all gone do 2 me that man resigned his self if u don't like me [bleep] u!!
Again, much more to come on Tressel's resignation.
- Kenny Guiton stood out to me among the quarterbacks. He put some nice zip on the ball in both individual and team drills, and he showed good mobility. Before team drills, Guiton worked in a group with Braxton Miller and Taylor Graham, while Joe Bauserman worked separately with a different set of players. Terrelle Pryor, wearing a yellow no-contact jersey, threw a few passes in Bauserman's group. Pryor didn't do much with his footwork as he's recovering from clean-up surgery on his foot Monday.
- Miller definitely has mobility and created extra room for himself on a check down to Adam Homan. He followed it up with a nice throw to receiver Ryan Ross.
- Expect Ohio State's running backs to be more involved in the pass game this year. During one period, the offense lined up solely with running backs or tight ends out wide, and several backs looked good catching the ball. Rod Smith, who generated hype during bowl practice, beat linebacker Andrew Sweat for a catch during a goal line drill. Carlos Hyde delivered a nice hit on a defender after a reception. There's some really nice versatility in both size and style among the Buckeyes' backs. I don't think they'll miss Dan Herron too much during the first five games, but we'll see.
- Jim Tressel was very involved in the practice during the media viewing period. The coach lined up as a cornerback during some passing drills and gave pointers to the quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends.
- Former Buckeyes defensive backs Malcolm Jenkins, now of the New Orleans Saints, and Donald Washington, now of the Kansas City Chiefs, attended Tuesday's practice.
- There were several nice defensive plays: second-team cornerback Dionte Allen, a transfer from Florida State, had a diving interception of a Graham pass; linebacker Etienne Sabino "sacked" Guiton; linebacker Dan Bain broke up a pass to Carlos Hyde during goal line; and Adam Bellamy tipped a Guiton pass at the line of scrimmage. Allen could help Ohio State's secondary depth this fall.
- For those depth chart aficionados ... DeVier Posey and Corey Brown worked as the first-team wide receivers ... Christian Bryant and Orhian Johnson worked as the first-team safeties ... Travis Howard and Dominic Clarke worked as the first-team cornerbacks ... the first-team defensive line consisted of Nathan Williams and John Simon on the outside and Garrett Goebel and Johnathan Hankins on the inside.
- The wide receivers had some ups and downs. Chris Fields had a nice hit on two defenders after making a catch, and T.Y. Williams caught my eye with his impressive physique (6-5, 228).
Overall, I liked the tempo and the hitting. Tuesday marked only Ohio State's second practice in pads, but the players weren't holding much back.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Other than USC's Pete Carroll, no FBS head coach has dominated a league during this decade like Jim Tressel in the Big Ten. The Ohio State head coach, who enters his ninth year in Columbus, owns a 52-12 record in Big Ten play and has led the Buckeyes to at least a share of five league titles, including the last four. Tressel boasts a 7-1 record against archrival Michigan and in November became the only Ohio State coach to win five consecutive games against the Wolverines.
|Matthew Emmons/US Presswire|
|Since arriving in Columbus, Jim Tressel owns a 52-12 record in Big Ten play.|
But is it enough? Tressel continues to take heat for Ohio State's recent big-game performances, including two losses in the BCS national title game, three consecutive BCS bowl losses and a blowout loss at USC in September. His offensive flexibility has been questioned, and some wonder whether Tressel can get all he can from gifted sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor. A new chapter has started this spring at Ohio State, as Pryor goes through his first spring ball as the definitive starter and the team tries to replace a sizable and decorated senior class. Tressel took some time last week to discuss the Buckeyes' outlook for the spring and 2009.
As far as the youth and the feel of this team, is there another team it reminds you of, or is it really unique?
Jim Tressel: The thing about this world we live in, there's really no two teams are even remotely alike. Because you're so concerned about so many things. It's not like basketball, where, 'OK, if my two-guard comes along, I'll be fine.' Will my long snapper be all right? Will we be able to protect the field goals better? There are so many things. This is a younger team. It's going to need to grow. Do they understand how difficult this world is? We'll find out. But I like their intentions.
Is there an area or a position group that has surprised you so far?
JT: A young guy who made a position change, Jake Stoneburner, who moved from wideout to tight end, to me has been a pleasant transition. A lot of time you have to be really patient with a guy that changes positions. That's been a real plus. Otherwise, youth-wise, the young kicker-punter Ben Buchanan, who's trying to do both, did a good job in the kick scrimmage, probably better than he's done both since he's been here. That made me feel a little bit better about having some depth at those two positions. Outside of that, I've felt good about the way Terrelle's coming along, but also Joe [Bauserman]. Joe's really making steps and making headway, which is huge, of course.
You said last year it was Todd Boeckman's team. Is this Terrelle's team now? Do you need to say that to him? Does he know that?
JT: I don't think you ever assume anything. We certainly have discussions all the time, not just with Terrelle, but with anyone who we think has shown the kind of production that then can lead to being a potential leader. 'Hey, you've been given opportunities to get in the game, you've produced when you've been in the game. Now people are looking to you for that leadership.' So you absolutely talk about that, but not just with your quarterback.
Is he a player that tests a coach's reluctance to be creative? Is he a guy who you have to expand the package for, or try new things?
JT: You get tempted to say, 'Hey, I wonder if we can do this or that.' But you rein it back in and say, 'Let's look at the whole group. What are the things the whole group will be best at?' Now of course, what can special guys add? What is it that [Dane] Sanzenbacher does best? What is it that [DeVier] Posey does best? What does Terrelle do best? But we haven't gotten crazy.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The recruiting classes are in, several underclassmen are out (preparing for the NFL draft) and coaching changes have been made. It's time to re-examine the Big Ten power rankings, which project forward to the 2009 season but take into consideration the way a team finished up 2008.
1. Ohio State -- The Buckeyes lost juniors Chris "Beanie" Wells, Brian Hartline and Donald Washington to the NFL draft and said goodbye to a large senior class, but they performed well in the Fiesta Bowl and brought in the league's best recruiting class. The youth movement has begun in Columbus, and Ohio State likely will surround Terrelle Pryor with more dynamic skill players on offense. There are some holes in the defensive two-deep, but Ohio State rarely misses a beat on that side of the ball.
2. Penn State -- The somewhat surprising early departures of defensive ends Aaron Maybin and Maurice Evans create questions in an area where Penn State dominated last season. Linebacker should be a major strength, but Penn State must replenish the secondary and find a stud pass rusher or two. Wide receiver should be the most interesting position to watch during the spring and summer, and if Penn State avoids a drop-off on the offensive line, it should be in good shape for another league title push. A large recruiting class will play a key role in the Lions' quest to repeat.
3. Iowa -- Shonn Greene surprised absolutely no one by declaring for the NFL draft, and the Doak Walker Award winner leaves a major void in production. But backup running back Jewel Hampton showed promise last year, and Iowa has fewer question marks on offense than most Big Ten teams. Arguably the bigger questions come at defensive tackle, where four-year starters Mitch King and Matt Kroul depart. Avoiding a major drop-off in the interior line is crucial, but Iowa returns most of its key players from a 9-4 team.
4. Michigan State -- Several key seniors depart, including running back Javon Ringer and safety Otis Wiley, but Michigan State brings back most of its key contributors and adds its best recruiting class in recent memory. The competition at both running back and quarterback will set the course for the 2009 season, but the Spartans should be deeper and better on defense.
5. Northwestern -- Much like Michigan State, Northwestern must replace its starting offensive backfield for the 2009 campaign. Mike Kafka steps in at quarterback after a solid junior season, but there will be plenty of competition at both running back and wide receiver. The offensive line should be much improved, and as long as star defensive end Corey Wootton recovers from knee surgery, the Wildcats will boast one of the Big Ten's best defenses.
6. Illinois -- As expected, cornerback Vontae Davis entered the NFL draft, leaving some questions in an Illini secondary that struggled at the safety spot in 2008. Improving the defense will be Illinois' top priority entering the fall, especially with so much talent back on the offensive side. Ron Zook's recruiting class drew mixed reviews after several committed prospects went elsewhere, but Illinois held onto wide receiver Terry Hawthorne and addressed several of its needs.
7. Minnesota -- The Gophers welcome two new coordinators (Jedd Fisch and Kevin Cosgrove) and a different offensive approach heading into spring practice, but they bring back most of the pieces from a 7-6 team. Tim Brewster continued to improve the defensive secondary with his recent recruiting haul, and both lines return virtually intact. If Minnesota can adjust to the changes in coaching and scheme, it should take another step forward in 2009.
8. Wisconsin -- Underappreciated running back P.J. Hill surprised some by declaring for the NFL draft, and Wisconsin also said goodbye to a large senior class. John Clay looks more than capable of becoming a featured back for the Badgers in 2009, but unless some significant progress is made at the quarterback position, it's hard to see improvement. A very solid recruiting class featuring quarterback Jon Budmayr and wide receiver Kraig Appleton could bolster the passing attack and move Wisconsin up the rankings.
9. Michigan -- Despite a 3-9 season, Michigan landed a top 10 recruiting class that features several players likely to contribute right away. Brandon Graham stayed for his senior year, giving the Wolverines a dominant pass rusher. The Wolverines very well could make a major move up this list, but they first must find a solution at the quarterback spot and fill holes on the defensive line and in the secondary. The recruiting class provides a major boost, but the program remains in a transition phase.
10. Purdue -- The Boilermakers are the Big Ten's mystery team, as they welcome a new head coach (Danny Hope) and most likely a different type of player. Hope landed 14 recruits from Florida in hopes of upgrading Purdue's speed and athleticism, and he also must replace starters at all the offensive skill positions (quarterback, running back, wide receiver). If the defense avoids a drop-off and Hope's recruits contribute immediately like he thinks they will, the Boilers will be a much-improved team.
11. Indiana -- Wide receiver Andrew Means declared for the NFL draft, but Indiana doesn't lose a whole lot from last year's team, which could be good or bad. Head coach Bill Lynch didn't make any staff changes, hoping that continuity and improved health will lead to better results in 2009. Indiana boasts two experienced quarterbacks (Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell), two proven pass rushers (Greg Middleton and Jammie Kirlew) and some promising young players, but if the defense doesn't improve, it could be another long season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Happy hump day to all. Bowl season is right around the corner -- the first Big Ten bowl doesn't arrive until Dec. 27 -- and several teams are conducting media days this week. Exciting times.
Let's see what's happening around the league.
- The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl likely will be Chris "Beanie" Wells' final game in an Ohio State uniform, while six other Buckeyes juniors are checking in with the NFL to gauge their draft status, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
"[Jim] Tressel said that six underclassmen had filed paperwork with the NFL to get a report of their likely draft status. The list: receiver Brian Hartline, safeties Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell, tight end Jake Ballard, guard Jim Cordle and cornerback Donald Washington.
'Beanie didn't need to fill out the paperwork,' Tressel said. 'I told him to save the transcript, save the paper.'"
- Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton practiced Tuesday for the first time since dislocating his wrist on Oct. 25 and hopes to return for the Valero Alamo Bowl, Shannon Ryan writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Joe Paterno's new contract takes him through 2011, but the coaching legend will be at Penn State for as long as he likes, Phil Sheridan writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"The bottom line is that Joe Paterno was Penn State football, Joe Paterno is Penn State football and Joe Paterno will be Penn State football until he gets tired of it."
- Scott Shafer took the fall for Michigan's struggles on defense this season, but Rich Rodriguez and the offense shouldn't be absolved of blame, Krista Jahnke blogs in the Detroit Free Press.
- Ohio State defensive end Nathan Williams pleaded not guilty to shoplifting after telling reporters he took the blame for a friend with previous legal trouble. If convicted, Williams could face up to six months in jail.
- Michigan State draws motivation from being the underdog heading into its Capital One Bowl matchup with the Bulldogs of Georgia, Shannon Shelton writes in the Detroit Free Press.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Penn State doesn't need Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma to beat lowly Syracuse, but both starting defensive linemen could be suspended for the second straight week. A source tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Musselman thatboth players will miss the Syracuse game, though their long-term playing status remains undecided.
No charges have been filed against either player at this time.
- Iowa's new starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi has brought a calming presence to the huddle, the Quad City Times' Eric Page writes in his blog. Offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde said:
"In the huddle, I mean, [Stanzi] is a little more calm and relaxed. Jake [Christensen] is more business focused, I think. Either way you look at them, they both have their positive aspects. You want a guy in the huddle that is going to be business focused and wanting to win, but, at the same time, you want a guy who is not riled up and every little thing doesn't get him excited."
Interesting stuff. Also, if you have time, check out the YouTube video with Stanzi's highlights set to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up." Hilarious music choice.
- Terrelle Pryor needs to play plenty on Saturday -- and he will, CBSsports.com's Dennis Dodd writes.
- The return of cornerback Donald Washington from suspension gives Ohio State some options in the secondary, The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises writes in his blog.
- There's some mystery surrounding Illinois defensive tackle Josh Brent, Bob Asmussen writes in The News-Gazette.
- Getting Chris "Beanie" Wells back and pressuring Mark Sanchez could keep Ohio State in Saturday's game, SI.com's Stewart Mandel writes.
- Indiana offensive lineman Rodger Safford plays through back pain, Chris Korman writes in the Bloomington Herald-Times (subscription required).
- Ohio State has rebounded well from near disasters early in the season, according to Bleacher Report.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Injuries are cropping up around the league, and coaches are shuffling pieces to try to find the right fit. Here's a look at five key issues in the Big Ten.
Minnesota -- Just when the Golden Gophers found a viable running threat, they received news that Duane Bennett tore his ACL against Bowling Green and will miss the rest of the season. Coach Tim Brewster will audition three players -- junior Jay Thomas and freshmen Shady Salamon and DeLeon Eskridge -- at the running back spot in hopes of identifying a featured back. The Gophers need more than one capable runner, but Brewster doesn't want a rotation there. Though Thomas has by far the most experience, Eskridge and Salamon are listed behind Bennett on this week's depth chart.
Michigan State -- The Spartans apparently no longer have cornerbacks or safeties, just general defensive backs. Before the season, coach Mark Dantonio moved starting corner Kendell Davis-Clark to safety after projected starter Roderick Jenrette took a leave of absence. Dantonio now is considering switching another starting cornerback, Ross Weaver, to safety after Davis-Clark sustained a shoulder injury against Cal and missed last week's matchup against Eastern Michigan. Davis-Clark is listed as day-to-day but didn't appear on this week's depth chart for Florida Atlantic.
Ohio State -- Cornerback Donald Washington returns from a two-game suspension Saturday against USC (ABC, 8 p.m. ET), but the two-year starter might not retain his job. Ohio State likely will platoon Washington and sophomore Chimdi Chekwa, who has started the first two games. Coach Jim Tressel also seems intent on keeping Jermale Hines in the mix, possibly at nickel back. Hines should get decent playing time Saturday because the Buckeyes don't know whether linebacker/safety Tyler Moeller will be able to play after suffering an injury.
Michigan -- Redshirt sophomore Perry Dorrestein likely will make his season debut as the Wolverines' starting left tackle Saturday at Notre Dame after Mark Ortmann dislocated his elbow last week. Dorrestein previously had backed up Stephen Schilling at left tackle. Michigan already is without two guards who went down with injuries before the season. Coach Rich Rodriguez expects Bryant Nowicki and true freshman Patrick Omameh to fill in behind Dorrestein on the left flank.
Penn State -- The still-unresolved suspensions of starting defensive linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma and the season-ending injury to Jerome Hayes leave the Nittany Lions in a bit of a bind. Both the end and tackle positions have depth issues, and end might be a greater concern as Penn State doesn't have much behind Josh Gaines and Aaron Maybin. One possibility would be moving true freshman Jack Crawford from tackle to end, though Paterno is leery about Crawford's inexperience. If Crawford switches, it puts more pressure on keeping Jared Odrick, Ollie Ogbu and Tom McEowen healthy.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
First things first. James Laurinaitis isn't a podiatrist and doesn't know when his Ohio State teammate Beanie Wells will return to the field. The Buckeyes star linebacker and two-time team captain is more focused on leading a dominant defense featuring several potential All-Americans. Laurinaitis, the reigning Butkus Award winner and former National Defensive Player of the Year, was among the Buckeyes stars who passed up NFL money for a final shot at the national title.
|Joe Robbins/Getty Images|
|Linebacker James Laurinaitis passed up NFL money for a final shot at a national title.|
After recording 236 tackles, nine sacks and seven interceptions the last two seasons, Laurinaitis headlines a unit that led the nation in both total defense and scoring defense last fall but once again got gashed in the BCS national championship game. Ohio State started off strong in Week 1, keeping Youngstown State behind the midfield stripe until the game's final play. A much larger test looms Sept. 13 against USC as Ohio State tries to improve its national reputation against an elite opponent.
Laurinaitis, the preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, sounded off on Wells, the defense and dealing with expectations in an interview this week.
First off, I've got to get your take. How is Beanie and do think he'll play this week or next week?
James Laurinaitis: I don't know. I'm not just blowing smoke, but I really don't know what's going on with Chris. He's feeling good. He seems like he's doing well. They do a good job of keeping it under wraps, how he is. I think he'll be a day-by-day thing, but to me, he looks good and he looks like he's getting after it in the rehab room. We don't know his diagnosis, so we don't know really what his plan is or what his timing is, but I know one thing about Chris: If he has the slightest chance to play, he'll play because he's an extremely tough kid.
Have you see him walking around at all in practice? Is he moving OK or struggling?
JL: I walked by him a few times in the locker room and he seems like he's doing OK. He's just trying to get better. Most of the time, he's in the training room and whenever he's not around the practice field or lifting, he's trying to get rehab on it or something. I really haven't seen him all that much.
You're obviously going to be facing some tougher teams later on, but what did you get out of that first game against Youngstown?
JL: With a first game like that, it's harder because you don't know what to expect, so to speak. We knew Youngstown was going to have a new quarterback and things like that and you go into a Game 1 against anyone, teams are going to try something new. They had tendencies, when they're in this formation, they're only going straight downhill. Well, they didn't go straight downhill. They went outside with it. Just reacting and seeing little things that we maybe messed up on scheme-wise and just getting something on film to evaluate, that's the important thing.
What are some of the things you'd like to see improve personally and as a unit?
JL: There's certain things where someone scrambles, they left their guy to go try get the quarterback and then there's an open receiver. Just making sure everyone does their job. When someone tries to go out of their way to make a play, that's where there's openings for a hole to be hit. Just really focusing on scheme stuff, stuff that we can control and trying to improve. Obviously we have to try and improve on turnovers. We had a fumble recovery but we dropped an interception.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
|Matthew Emmons/US Presswire|
|Malcolm Jenkins had four interceptions last season.|
The rankings return with the cornerbacks, followed by the safeties later. Malcolm Jenkins and Vontae Davis top the list, but things get a little bit cloudy after those two. Just a reminder that the rundown is only cornerbacks, so if you're looking for names like Anderson Russell, Anthony Scirrotto and Austin Thomas, check back in a bit.
1. Malcolm Jenkins, Sr., Ohio State -- It's a tight race with Davis for the top spot, but Jenkins gets the nod. He enters the fall as the Thorpe Award frontrunner after passing up NFL millions. The back-to-back first-team All-Big Ten selection had four interceptions last season and can shut down one side of the field.
2. Vontae Davis, Jr., Illinois -- His pro stock is skyrocketing and Davis soon will join his big brother Vernon in the NFL. Last season the Thorpe Award semifinalist had four interceptions, eight pass breakups, nine tackles for loss and two blocked punts, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
3. Lydell Sargeant, Sr., Penn State -- With Justin King gone, Sargeant moves into a featured cover role and has the tools to step up. In his first season as a starter he led Penn State defensive backs and ranked third on the team with 70 tackles. And Sargeant isn't afraid of big stages -- in March he was one of the introductory speakers at an on-campus rally of 22,000 people that featured presidential candidate Barack Obama.
4. Donald Washington, Jr., Ohio State -- His two-game suspension at the start of the season could hurt, but Washington has plenty of experience to readjust. Often overshadowed by Jenkins, Washington has big-play potential, as he showed by returning his lone interception last fall 70 yards for a touchdown.
5. Donovan Warren, So., Michigan -- One of the top young defensive backs in the league, Warren earned several freshman All-America distinctions last fall. He recorded 52 tackles and forced and recovered a fumble against Notre Dame. Like most Wolverines players, Warren improved his conditioning level this summer and should turn in a strong sophomore season.
6. Morgan Trent, Sr., Michigan -- The team's most experienced player has made 29 career starts in the secondary, collecting 108 tackles [92 solo] and 19 pass breakups. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors last season. Trent has been burned at times by elite receivers, but he brings leadership to the secondary and complements Warren.
7. A.J. Wallace, Jr., Penn State -- Wallace turned heads as a freshman, playing on both sides of the ball and dazzling on kickoff returns and reverses. Hopes remain high for his progress at cornerback, as he moves into the spot vacated by King. After a superb Alamo Bowl performance [five tackles, interception, fumble recovery], Wallace should do big things this fall.
8. Bradley Fletcher, Sr., Iowa -- Charles Godfrey and Adam Shada had Iowa's starting cornerback spots on lockdown, but Fletcher still contributed with 53 tackles and two interceptions last fall. With those two gone, Fletcher steps into a featured role this fall. He has played a lot the last two seasons and should step up as a senior.9. Allen Langford, Sr., Wisconsin -- How Langford responds following ACL surgery is critical, but he brings plenty of experience to a suspect Badgers secondary. He has six career interceptions and 19 pass breakups, including seven in 10 games last fall before the injury. If healthy, the fifth-year senior provides a big boost in the back half.
10. Kendell Davis-Clark, Sr., Michigan State -- Davis-Clark ranked second on the team in tackles  in his first season as a starter and should continue to progress this fall. He had eight pass breakups and was effective on blitzes with four sacks in 2007. Davis-Clark's next step is making more plays for a takeaway-starved Spartans defense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Northwestern media day has come and gone, and I learned that at least one Big Ten coach (Pat Fitzgerald) has read the blog. Only 10 more to go.
The schedule is shaping up a bit for next week. I'll be spending Wednesday at Camp Rantoul with the Illinois Fighting Illini, before heading over to Purdue for media day on Thursday. There could also be some surprises along the way.
Here's your daily diet of links:
- If you're just waking up, Ohio State defensive backs Donald Washington and Jamario O'Neal have been suspended for the first two games of the season. Not a major blow, given that they'll be back for USC, but it could shake up the dynamic in the secondary.
- Oh, and some guy named Terrelle Pryor spoke with reporters at Ohio State media day. He was a pretty popular man, Paul Schofield writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Items of note: Pryor rooms with starting quarterback Todd Boeckman, gets a lot of reps in practice and likes hanging out with the older players.
- More on Ohio State media day from The Columbus Dispatch's Buckeye Blog. Left tackle Alex Boone knows how to roundup the linemen -- "If you're big and fat, let's go" -- a group that includes Michigan transfer Justin Boren.
- Wisconsin star tight end Travis Beckum sat out Thursday's practice with "tightness in his lower body," but it doesn't appear to be too serious, Jim Polzin writes in The Capital Times. Also, defensive lineman Brandon Hoey's career is over after lingering back problems.
- The Badgers seem pretty solid at outside linebacker, but the middle is a concern. Enter Jaevery McFadden, who could unseat incumbent Elijah Hodge for the job, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus writes in the Badgers Blog.
- Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis practiced with the third-team offense on Thursday, The Hoosier Scoop blog reports. Wow. He's really going to have to earn his way back.
- Apparently Akron doesn't like its chances to upset Wisconsin on Aug. 30. The school gave back some of its allotted tickets, so get 'em while they're available.
- Strong defense is a given at Penn State, but a strong season hinges on whether the offense can make up ground, Jeff Rice writes in the Centre Daily Times.
"Penn State has scored a total of six points in its last two trips to Camp Randall Stadium, where it faces Wisconsin on Oct. 11. It has scored a total of 23 points in its last three visits to Ohio Stadium, where it will face the Buckeyes on Oct. 25."
- Without star Sean Lee in the mix at linebacker, senior Tyrell Sales needs to step up for Penn State. It looks like he's ready, Sam Ross Jr. writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- Missed this one from earlier, but it looks like Rich Rodriguez isn't the only one shelling out benjamins after the legal dispute with West Virginia. But given the final outcome, I doubt the university minds too much.
- Wide receiver Brian Gamble and offensive lineman Mark Jackson are back with their Illinois teammates at Camp Rantoul after missing the first three practices, Bob Asmussen writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette. There's also an item on cornerback Miami Thomas, who is from Chicago.
- Defensive end Cameron Jude and wide receiver Keshawn Martin are among the Michigan State freshmen who have impressed so far, the Lansing State Journal's Joe Rexrode writes in his blog.
- Spartans cornerback Ross Weaver hopes to stay healthy after several setbacks, Andrew Mouranie writes in the Lansing State Journal.
- Fomer Michigan defensive end Rondell Biggs was arrested this winter for illegal possession of steroids, which surprises Jim Carty of the Ann Arbor News.
- Add Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo to the growing list of people that envision a turnaround in Iowa City this fall. Sorry, I just don't see it.
- If you didn't figure it out already from my posts yesterday, Northwestern is gunning for a bowl berth -- and a win, Jim O'Donnell writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Tim Brewster's incoming recruiting class is all the rage, but only three members from his first crop remain with Minnesota, Marcus Fuller writes in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Will a healthy and deeper line translate into more sacks at Minnesota? The Gophers have to do better up front, Kent Youngblood writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- My Big Ten tour continues Tuesday at Michigan State, which begins its media day around 8 a.m. ET. Offensive players and coaches are up first, followed by defensive players and coaches. Head coach Mark Dantonio meets the media at 11:30 a.m. ET, and I'll head to watch the first portion of practice this afternoon.
For the e-mailers ragging me for flooding the blog with Michigan material Monday, this is how it's going to work. When I'm at a particular school, that school's team will be featured throughout the day. I'll try not to neglect what's going on around the league, but one team will take precedence. The good thing is I'm going to visit almost every Big Ten school before the season, so if you're wondering when Ohio State or Penn State get top billing, just be patient.
It was a busy Monday around the Big Ten as 10 teams opened practice. Here's a look at each one:
- Rashard Mendenhall was arguably the Big Ten's most valuable player last season, but Illinois thinks it can fill the void, Dave Curtis writes in The Sporting News.
- The Champaign News-Gazette's Web site [IlliniHQ.com] is finally free, and Bob Asmussen looks at five questions to monitor at Camp Rantoul.
- Cornerback Vontae Davis has NFL scouts drooling, Lindsey Willhite writes in the Daily Herald.
- Travon Bellamy and Chris Duvalt are in the mix for starting spots at safety and wide receiver, Stu Durando writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Quarterback Kellen Lewis returned to the practice field and hopes to redeem himself after a suspension this spring. "I want to show that I've become a better individual and will stop making selfish decisions, which is what got me into this in the first place," Lewis said.
- Lewis wasn't alone on Monday, as eight quarterbacks took snaps for the Hoosiers. Also, Florida transfer Jerimy Finch is still awaiting clearance before he can practice with Indiana, The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens writes in his blog.
- The Bloomington Herald-Times' Doug Wilson has some notes from Indiana's first practice.
- Coach Kirk Ferentz tried to keep the focus on football at the team's media day.
- No surprise here, but Iowa's running back job remains wide open as Shonn Greene returns from junior college. The coaching staff is high on Greene, but walk-on Paki O'Meara will push him.
- Quarterback Jake Christensen enters camp as the starter and has the chance to further distance himself as his primary contender, Ricky Stanzi, recovers from a shoulder injury.
- Iowa's road to redemption starts with the offensive line, Sean Keeler writes in the Des Moines Register.
- Michigan's media rights belong to IMG, which paid $86 million in a 12-year deal, John Ourand writes in Sports Business Journal. IMG already owns Michigan's radio rights but will pick up corporate sponsorships and coaches' endorsements.
- Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones has bulked up during the summer, the Lansing State Journal's Joe Rexrode writes in his blog.
- The team on the field isn't the only thing looking glossy at Michigan State. The football team's new headquarters is getting rave reviews, Steve Grinczel writes.
- Former Kansas City Chiefs star center Jack Rudnay, a Northwestern alum, addressed the team on the first day of practice.
- Heralded freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor took the practice field without a no-contact jersey Monday. But it didn't stay that way for long, Tim May writes in the Columbus Dispatch.
- Ohio State tries to get back to its roots on special teams, Ken Gordon writes in the Columbus Dispatch.
- Jim Tressel didn't say much about the status of defensive tackle Doug Worthington or cornerback Donald Washington, but he did make a key position change Monday, moving Curtis Terry from linebacker to first-team fullback, Doug Lesmerises writes in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Who will win Penn State's quarterback job? Who steps up at defensive tackle after the dismissals of Phil Taylor and Chris Baker? The Philadelphia Enquirer's Jeff McLane takes a look.
- Mark Wogenrich of The (Allentown) Morning Call weighs in on what to watch in Penn State's camp.
- Reserve running back Lance Smith has run out of chances at Wisconsin after his latest slip-up. He remains eligible and will look to play elsewhere, but his Badgers' career is over. Coach Bret Bielema really had little choice here after sticking his neck out for Smith last summer. The Badgers still have enough depth at running back, though an injury to P.J. Hill or Zach Brown could raise the anxiety level.
- The Capital Times' Jim Polzin breaks down the first day of practice. Junior cornerback Josh Nettles and two incoming freshmen aren't on the roster,
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Welcome to the final semi-quiet week for Big Ten football, as 10 of the league's 11 teams open preseason practice a week from Monday. I'll be heading out to Michigan for the Wolverines' first workout before swinging up to East Lansing for Michigan State's media day. Other trips to Big Ten schools are likely to follow as we wind toward Aug. 30.
Here's a look around the league, which is still digesting from media days:
- ESPN's Outside the Lines piece on Penn State's off-field problems has caused quite a stir around Happy Valley. The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News' David Jones writes that while Joe Paterno might be more lenient toward troublesome players these days, off-field incidents aren't anything new.
- Some Nittany Lions players had no interest in watching the show, while others tuned in.
- Terrelle Pryor doesn't back down from a challenge at Ohio State, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Michigan has selected several team leaders called apostles, who serve as conduits with coach Rich Rodriguez. Does this mean Rodriguez is the Second Coming? Not quite. "I don't think he thinks he's Jesus or anything," cornerback Morgan Trent, one of the apostles, told The Detroit Free Press.
- There's evidently no bad blood -- or snake oil -- between Rodriguez and Purdue coach Joe Tiller, Tom Kubat writes in The Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier.
- The lawyer for one of the former Iowa players involved in the sexual assault case thinks the letters sent by the mother of the alleged victim are being blown out of proportion. Side note: This is the same guy who represented former Hawkeye hoopster Pierre Pierce.
- A quick hoops note: Jeff Meyer, a former assistant under Kelvin Sampson at Indiana, isn't leaving the Big Ten. He landed at Michigan.
- Illinois is the latest Big Ten team to use a disappointing BCS bowl score as motivation, Terry Bannon writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- RichRod is keeping his options open at quarterback, Mark Snyder writes in The Detroit Free Press.
- What's it like to be the parent of a Big Ten starting quarterback? The Lansing State Journal's Joe Rexrode takes a look at the family of Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer.
- Expect a heavy dose of Spartans running back Javon Ringer this fall, Alex DiFilippo writes in The State News.
- Curtis Painter's Heisman Trophy campaign is under way, complete with his own DVD, Al Lesar writes in The South Bend Tribune. Purdue hopes this campaign turns out better than its last Heisman push, for Kyle Orton in 2004.
- Ohio State cornerback Donald Washington doesn't appear to be out of Jim Tressel's dog house yet, while hyped freshmen offensive lineman Mike Adams could be ready for camp, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises polled Big Ten players to see who they thought was the league's best. Seems like the media and the players are on the same page.
- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald looked to Wisconsin for a defensive coordinator replacement but was surprised to find out which assistant Badgers coach had become available, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Here's a good breakdown of Wisconsin's post-spring two-deep, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dave Heller.
- Big Ten Network blogger Brent Yarina highlights some of the lighter moments from the Big Ten kickoff luncheon, including this line from bachelor Bielema: "I'll save time. I don't have a wife to introduce because I'm not married. If anybody stands up, I'm in trouble."