Big Ten Predictions as Conference Play Begins

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Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert looks down the line of scrimmage against Miami (OH). Jim Oxley photo

Who is the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year?

Erik Buchinger: Joe Schobert is going to be the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Homer pick? Maybe, but he has definitely been among the top defensive players in the conference early. Through four games, Schobert leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 9.5, ranks second with six sacks and is also second in forced fumbles with two. Wisconsin will have a good defense this season, and Schobert will continue to make a living in the opponent’s backfield.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Taylor Johnson: Riley Bullough, LB Michigan State. Not only will Bullough lead the conference in tackles this year, but he will be right up there in sacks as well. The Spartans defense will tighten up in Big Ten play and Bullough will be a big part of that. He’s also going to be a very integral part of a Spartans defense that could possibly help carry this team to a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Jim Oxley: Michigan state’s Shilique Calhoun is an absolute beast.  He has 4.5 sacks already this season in four games, and has five tackles for a loss with 14 solo tackles. He reminds me a tiny bit of JJ Watt based on his athleticism on the line. He’s the type of big-play defensive lineman who could explode for a game or two and post some insane sack numbers, enough to give him the conference’s defensive player of the year award.

Rayan Vatti: I know I’m going to sound like a homer, but I’ve got to give the nod to Wisconsin Outside Linebacker Joe Schobert. Schobert currently leads the country in tackles for a loss (9.5). He is also in the top 5 in sacks (6) and forced fumbles (2). Against Alabama, Joe “The Show” Schobert had 13 tackles, 4 TFL’s, and 2 sacks. Right now, he is just unblockable. Obviously it’s a small sample size, and a lot can change over the course of the season. But he has easily been the best defensive player in the Big 10. Other candidates to keep an eye on are Joey Bosa (OSU), Vonn Bell (OSU), Adolphus Washington (OSU), and Shilique Calhoun (MSU).

Next: 2015 Wisconsin Predictions

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