Big Ten Preview: Five Best Players

1. James Laurinaitis, LB, THE Ohio State University:

2. Beanie Wells, RB, THE Ohio State University: This guy must be part cyborg. At 6'1" and somewhere in the 230s, he's just another prototypical Buckeye running back. You know the type. Big, not overly flashy, and about as easy to tackle as a 40-foot oak tree. Wells, however, has that magical 6th gear, the one that changes the sound of his motor from "vroooooom" to "Oh no you don't!" Wells is on every Heisman watch list out there; if anybody can knock off T** T***w, here he is.

3. Isiah "Juice" Williams, QB, Illinois:
While his passing improved last season to the point where you could no longer refer to him as Isiah "Clank" Williams, Juice is not really what you'd call a throwing quarterback. What he is is the next generation Tommie Frazier, a guy who throws when he has to but doesn't have to throw very often because he's more slippery than wet ice on Teflon. Ron Zook has high hopes for Williams this season. Maybe too high; he's said he'd like to see Williams' completion percentage up around 70 or so. As far as I can tell, that's better than any Big Ten quarterback in the past six seasons, and better than any Illini quarterback ever. Come back to Earth, Ron; if WIlliams can just get his completion percentage up around 60-62%, he'll be a weapon without parallel anywhere in the conference.

5. Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin: He should change his last name to Stickum. Last season Beckum had more receiving yards than any other tight end in the nation, and it wasn't close. In fact, Beckum had the fourth-most yards of any pass-catcher in the conference. Wisconsin might be a little squishy at quarterback going into this season, but Beckum gets open like no tight end this side of Dallas Clark, so whoever winds up throwing the ball in Madison will know they've got a reliable target to throw to.

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