Buckeyes Pegged As Top B1G Performers
A lot of preseason speculation and adulation resonated from Big Ten Media Days in Chicago this week, and certainly much of it was Buckeye-heavy.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer weighed in on several topics and even compared the Big Ten to the SEC, new Indiana coach Tom Allen helped hype his team’s impending season opener with the Buckeyes, and OSU was hailed once again as the team to beat in the conference.
And then there was the result of a selected media panel tasked to come up with a 10-member preseason list – five from each division – of Big Ten players in the spotlight.
In the East Division, two players were picked off of defending Big Ten-champion Penn State: quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. However, two Buckeyes also made the list as QB J.T. Barrett was mentioned along with defensive end Tyquan Lewis.
Indiana senior linebacker Tegray Scales rounded out the East Division lineup. Barrett and Barkley each garnered Big Ten football preseason honors for the second consecutive season.
In the West Division, the panel also doubled up on players from Northwestern and Wisconsin. The Wildcats were represented by three-time honoree and senior running back Justin Jackson as well as senior safety Goodwin Igwebuike. Meanwhile, a pair of UW standouts – senior linebacker Jack Cichy and senior tight end Troy Fumagalli – also earned recognition.
Iowa senior linebacker Josey Jewell completed the West Division honorees. Cichy, Fumagalli, Igwebuike and Jewell garnered Big Ten football preseason honors for the first time in their careers.
Barkley is well-decorated. Last year, he was named the Graham-George Offensive Player and Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year
But Barrett is not to be overlooked or counted out of leading OSU to another Big Ten title or winning various individual awards when his senior season concludes. In 2016, which was considered an off year by analysts, Barrett still managed to toss 24 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions for 2,555 yards and added another 845 on the ground with nine more scores.
The statistic that holds up the best for Barrett is his win-loss record, which stands at 26-4 as an OSU starter.
Listed 6-2 and 220 pounds, the Wichita Falls, Texas, product is a two-time Big Ten Conference Griese-Brees quarterback of the year and he shared the Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award last season with Barkley.
Also, the OSU defense will have a topflight performer and leader in Lewis (6-4, 265), who enters the season with 27 tackles-for-loss and 16.5 QB sacks in his career.
Lewis, graduated offensive center Billy Price and senior linebacker Chris Worley represented the program at Big Ten Media Days.
Price and Worley are among several OSU players littered on preseason award watch lists and mentioned as preseason All-Big Ten and All-America candidates.
In Athlon, for example, there is lots of love for Ohio State. That annual publication picks OSU No. 2 in the country behind only Alabama and foresees a potential dominating run in the Big Ten.
Athlon picked all of OSU’s position groups either first, second or third among all in the conference and labels 12 incoming players among the top 30 Big Ten signees of 2017, including the top three and seven of the top 10.
Athlon has Barrett, Price, running back Mike Weber and tackle Jamarco Jones pegged as preseason first-team All-Big Ten players and puts three defensive players on the same plane: Lewis, defensive end Sam Hubbard and linebacker Jerome Baker. Four more Buckeye defenders are listed on the second team.
Several other such magazines basically follow suit and hail Barrett as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
The official 2017 Big Ten preseason honorees follow:
J.T. Barrett, Graduated, QB, Ohio State
Tyquan Lewis, Graduated, DE, Ohio State
Tegray Scales, Sr., LB, Indiana
Saquon Barkley, Jr., RB, Penn State
Trace McSorley, Sr., QB, Penn State
Josey Jewell, Sr., LB, Iowa
Goodwin Igwebuike, Sr., S, Northwestern
Justin Jackson, Sr., RB, Northwestern
Jack Cichy, Sr., LB, Wisconsin
Troy Fumagalli, Sr., TE, Wisconsin