Big Ten preview: Big stars, breakout players, swing games

(Photo: MGoBlog.com, 247Sports)

1. Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State: I wrote an in-depth feature on Oweh earlier this offseason. But here’s the skinny: Oweh is a 6-foot-5, 252-pound edge rusher who’s posted a 4.33-second 40, a 4.11-second 20-yard shuttle and a 36.5-inch vertical. There are freaks and then there’s Oweh. With Yetur Gross-Matos in the NFL, Oweh is primed to be a starter for the first time in his Penn State career. Watch for the redshirt sophomore to build upon a 2019 season that saw him post 21 tackles, five sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Don’t be shocked if he’s in the conversation as a top 10 pick at season’s end. He’s that talented.

2. Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State: There always seems to be a next great Buckeye edge rusher. Harrison is that guy. The former No. 12 overall player in the 2019 class will step into the spotlight as a starter this season following Chase Young’s departure to the NFL. Expect Harrison, who posted 5.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks as a true freshman, to immediately emerge as one of the Big Ten’s better pass rushers.

3. Dax Hill, S, Michigan: This is another no-brainer. The former No. 14 overall player in the 2019 class, Hill is a superb athlete who’s posted a 4.3-second 50 and a 44-inch vertical in high school. Hill flashed plenty a season ago, totaling 36 tackles and four pass breakups in 13 games, including three starts. Given a full-time starting opportunity this year, expect Hill to be one of the Big Ten’s best defensive backs. The rangy safety is also exactly what the Wolverines need on the backend to compliment Brown’s aggressive scheme. He can be a big-play eraser, working sideline to sideline with ease and covering for occasional busts that occur with the way Brown calls games.

4. Marquez Beason, CB, Illinois: Sticking with formerly elite recruits, Beason is far and away the most talented player on the Illini roster. In fact, the former No. 99 overall player in the 2019 class is the highest-rated player Illinois has signed in over a decade. Beason missed his entire true freshman season with a torn ACL. Healthy again, Beason immediately projects as a starter for a deep and experienced Illinois secondary. Expect him to make plays early and often this season.

5. Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland: Did you think we’d forgotten about Tagovailoa? Hardly. He might be listed as a co-starter on Maryland’s Week 1 depth chart, but Tagovailoa is very likely QB1 in College Park. Terrapins passers completed just 50.3 percent of their passes last season and averaged 6.1 yards per attempt, so the Alabama transfer should represent a huge upgrade under center. Is Taulia likely to create the same sort of fireworks his brother, Tua, did under Mike Locksley’s direction? No. But he should be a boost for a Terps team with more talent than you’d expect, ranking 32nd in the 247Sports Team Talent Composite rankings.



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