The 2016 season is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start previewing players who could be in the discussion for college football’s most prestigious awards when the season is all said and done.
The preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy (given to the nation’s best interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America) was revealed on Friday and numerous Big Ten players made the list.
Here’s a look at the Big Ten players who were named to the Outland Trophy watch list, along with a preview of what to expect from them this season.
Brian Allen, center, Michigan State: Allen appeared in 14 games and made 12 starters as a true sophomore. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection and will likely be relied upon as an anchor in the trenches for the Spartans during the 2016 campaign.
Mason Cole, center, Michigan: Cole is a two-year starter who started all 13 games at tackle last season. He was an All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2015.
Pat Elflein, guard, Ohio State: A two-year starter, Elflein will be one of the top players on a Buckeyes offense that lost some of its top talent from last season’s 12-1 team.
Dan Feeney, guard, Indiana: Feeney was an All-American and first-team All-Big Ten member last season after not allowing a sack on 475 pass attempts last season. He will surely be an anchor in the trenches for a Hoosiers offense that is retooling this season.
Darius Hamilton, defensive tackle, Rutgers: Hamilton is a beast when healthy, but missed 11 games due to injury last season. In 2014, he recorded 45 tackles and six sacks. He will have an opportunity to make the most out of his medical redshirt season, which will be his final one at Rutgers.
Jaleel Johnson, defensive tackle, Iowa: Johnson was an honorable mention All-Big Ten last season after recording 45 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks during his junior season. He could be poised for an even better senior year.
Erik Magnuson, offensive tackle, Michigan: The third-team All-Big Ten selection started all 12 games at right tackle for the Wolverines last season and has started 24 games during his Michigan career.
Malik McDowell, defensive tackle, Michigan State: McDowell is poised for a monstrous junior season as the focal point of Michigan State’s defensive line. He recorded 41 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a sophomore. The best is yet to come from McDowell.
Billy Price, guard, Ohio State: Price was named third-team All-Big Ten in his second season as a starter. The redshirt junior will be a pivotal piece along Ohio State’s offensive line this season.
Jake Replogle, defensive tackle, Purdue: Replogle might not be a household name, but he’s an instrumental part of Purdue’s defense. He recorded 60 tackles and two sacks a season ago and is one of the more underrated players in the conference entering the 2016 campaign.
Dan Voltz, center, Wisconsin: Entering his third season as a starter, Voltz will lead a Badgers offensive line that should show marked improvement this season.