2022 Big Ten Preseason Synopsis


All Big 10 team is here. One of the most competitive conferences in all of college football returns for its 127th season. We are in for another highly competitive year and the amount of talent on this list is impressive! With that being said, let’s dive into who I believe will make up the Big Ten’s All-Conference Team for the 2022 season.


Quarterback – CJ Stroud – Ohio


Along with Alabama’s Bryce Young, Stroud is projected to be the first QB taken off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft. When you look at the numbers and the tape, you can clearly see why that is the case. In 2021, Stroud passed for 4,435 yards and posted a 44:6 TD-Int ratio. Additionally, he also put up an excellent completion percentage of 71.9%. Stroud has a lot of the intangibles you look for in a QB. Arm strength, accuracy, leadership, size, mobility, mental processing, etc. Accordingly, Stroud impressed many in his first year and is looking like he will take the football world by storm this season!


Running Back – TreVeyon Henderson – Ohio State


Henderson made history in his freshman year by having 19 touchdowns under his belt, which broke the school record for most touchdowns in a season by a freshman. As a result of this stellar freshman year, Henderson is now considered a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the best running back in college football. On top of his 19 touchdowns, Henderson also rushed for 1,248 yards. Accordingly, his great speed, acceleration, vision, and change of direction abilities will surely result in him having another astounding season for the Buckeyes. 


Running Back- Braelon Allen – Wisconsin


Before Allen’s 2021 season, there were only 3 running backs who rushed for 1,000+ yards in their true freshman season. Those 3 were Ron Dayne (1996), James White (2010), and Jonathan Taylor (2017). But after last season, you can now add Braelon Allen to that list, as he rushed for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns. Like TreVeyon Henderson, Allen is also being considered a candidate for the Doak Walker award. The powerful and physical running back is looking to have another sensational season that will shoot him up draft boards. 


Wide Receiver- Jaxon Smith-Njiba – Ohio State


In 2021, Smith-Njiba broke the Ohio State record for most catches in a single game with 15. He also broke the record for most receiving yards in a bowl game with 347, which he did so against Utah in the 2022 Rose Bowl. He had a very productive season starting from the slot, putting up 9 touchdowns and 1,606 receiving yards. As a result, Smith-Njiba is primed to have yet another highly productive year for the Buckeyes in 2022. Thus, he is on the watch list for the Biletnikoff award, which is given to the best receiver in football. 


Wide Receiver – Jayden Reed – Michigan State


Reed had his first 1,000+ receiving yard season in 2021, posting up 1,026 yards and snagging 10 touchdowns. Reed is a versatile player, proven by the fact he was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, which is given to the most versatile player of the season. Part of Reed’s versatility stems from his abilities as a return specialist.

In 2021, Reed had 2 punt return touchdowns, which led the Big Ten. He was also second in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards per game with 128.8. As a result of Reed’s electrifying 2021, he is on the watch list for the Biletnikoff award. A receiver from Michigan State hasn’t won the award since Charles Rogers in 2002. Does Reed have what it takes to end the drought?


Wide Receiver – Parker Washington – Penn State


Washington was one of Penn State’s most impactful players in 2021. He was second on the team in receptions (64), yards (820), and touchdowns (5). In the Big Ten, Washington ranked 6th in receptions and 11th in yards. Washington is poised to have an even more efficient 2022 now that his teammate, Jahan Dotson, was drafted in 2022 by the Washington Commanders. Since he will be the clear number one option for Penn State, keep an eye out for Parker Washington to have improved production!


Wide Receiver – Rakim Jarrett – Maryland


In 2021, Jarrett had 829 yards, 62 receptions, and 5 touchdowns. These numbers were good enough for Jarrett to be 7th in receptions, 8th in receiving yards, and 10th in touchdowns. As a result, many are expecting Jarrett to take off in 2022, as he has been named to the 2022 Biletnikoff award watch list. Jarrett’s combination of good hands, tracking, hand fighting, acceleration, speed, and change of direction abilities will allow him to continue to take the top off of defenses. 


Tight End – Sam LaPorta – Iowa


Iowa, A.K.A, “Tight End U”, has produced yet another top tight end prospect. In 2021, LaPorta led the Big Ten tight ends in receptions(53), yards (670), yards after catch (299), yards after contact (206), and catches of 15+ yards(18). As a result, he was named second-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele and third-team All-Big Ten by coaches. 


Offensive Tackle – Parris Johnson Jr. – Ohio State


In 2021, Ohio State had the number one ranked offense, and Johnson was a big part of that. He held things down from the left tackle and is being considered by many to be the top tackle prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Certainly, Johnson should have an impressive year for Ohio State.


Offensive Guard – Zak Zinter – Michigan


Zinter was a major piece of the Joe Moore Award winning Michigan offensive line. He mainly anchored down the right guard position. He was named to the All-Big Ten second team. Thus, with Zinter returning to the helm, the Michigan offensive line is certainly expected to have yet another dominating season in 2021. 


Center – Olusegun Oluwatimi – Michigan


Oluwatimi was the man holding it down in the heart of the trenches for University of Virginia’s offensive line. In 2021, he played the most snaps out of any ACC center with 910 snaps. He was also named a finalist for the Rimington trophy, which is given to the best center. He is the first center in UVA’s history to do so. Additionally, he was named a first team All-ACC selection by Phil Steele and second team by PFF and the Associated Press. Furthermore, Oluwatimi was ranked as the 2nd best run blocking center in 2021 by PFF.


Offensive Guard – J.D Duplain – Michigan State


Duplain settled into the left guard position for Michigan State in 2021. Additionally, Duplain was a big contributor in the success of Kenneth Walker III’s huge 2021 season. Walker rushed for 1,636 yards and won the Doak Walker Award, the Big Ten Running Back of the Year award, and the Walter Camp Player of the Year award. Duplain proved his worth last year and is in a position to ball out once again this year. As a result, Duplain is poised to make waves in 2022. 


Offensive Tackle – Peter Skoronski – Northwestern


Skoronski was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team (coaches) and the All-Big Ten Second Team by the media. Skoronski was also the anchor that allowed Evan Hull to rush for 1,009 yards. Since Hull and Skoronski are coming back next year, the Northwestern run game will be a big threat next year!


Defensive End – Adetomiwa Adebawore – Northwestern


Adebawore was an All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2021. He led the tean in sacks with 4.5 and tackles for loss with 8.5. The explosive and agile end is expected to have his best season yet in 2022.


Defensive End – Zach Harrison – Ohio State


Harrison was named second-team all-Big Ten by the media and third-team all-Big Ten by coaches. He is the most experienced defensive end on Ohio’s defense and was even named a team captain in 2021. In 2021, Harrison had 7 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. He did this in only 7 games! Due to this impressive production and the fact that he has gained the trust of the locker room, I project Harrison to have a very impactful 2022. 


Defensive Tackle – PJ Mustipher – Penn State


Mustipher was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches in 2021. Additionally, he was named a team captain. Musipher had 21 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and sack in 2021. Unfortunately, Mustipher suffered an injury vs Iowa in the middle of the season. I believe the getback will be bigger than the setback for Mustipher, because he is poised to make an explosive return in 2022. 


Defensive Tackle – Noah Shannon – Iowa


Shannon had 47 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks in 2021. Shannon has been moved up as the teams number one defensive tackle on the depth chart following spring practice. The stage has been set for Shannon to have a breakout season in 2022, and I believe he has the tools to make it happen.


Linebacker – Nick Herbig – Wisconsin


Herbig is projected by Phil Steele to be a First-team All-American in 2022. In 2021, he ranked 4th in the Big Ten with 9 sacks and 7th in tackles for loss with 14.5. PFF gave him a pass rush grade of 91.4. This is the highest grade a Wisconsin player has ever had. This is a big deal, as it’s a higher grade than Joe Schobert and TJ Watt had during their stints in Wisconsin. Expect big things from Herbig this season!


Linebacker – Seth Benson – Iowa


It seems that Benson will be the Hawkeyes starting weakside linebacker in 2022, as he was listed as the first string weakside linebacker on the depth chart after spring practice. Benson is a guy who is beloved in the locker room, proven by the fact he won the Team Hustle Award and the Coaches Appreciation Award. In 2021, Benson racked up an impressive 105 tackles, as well as 2 sacks and an interception. If Benson can keep this type of production up in 2022, he will surely be mentioned amongst the top linebackers in the nation. 


Linebacker – Luke Reimer – Nebraska


The winner of the 2021 Nebraska Linebacker of the Year award is hoping to run it back in 2022. Reimer ended 2021 with 90 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles, an interception, and a sack. Many are expecting top production from Reimer, as he has been named to the Butkus Award’s watch list, an award given to the top linebacker in the nation. Butkus award winners usually go on to be high draft picks in the NFL Draft. Will Luke Reimer be added to that illustrious list?


Cornerback – DJ Turner – Michigan


Turner had 9 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and 33 total tackles in 2021. This is pretty solid production for 2021 being Turner’s first year as a starter in multiple games. On top of his production for the Michigan defense, he also made his presence felt on special teams. He had moments where he shined greatly, like in the game against Northwestern where he made 3 tackles and had an interception. Accordingly, this performance was enough for Turner to be honored with the Defensive Player of the Week Award. His combination of great awareness and instincts has the potential to be what catapults him to the next level. 


Cornerback – Riley Moss – Iowa


Riley Moss has been a special player for Iowa. He is entering his 5th year as Hawk, but in his first 4 years he has put his name amongst the schools greatest. Moss ranks 2nd in career interception return yards in school history with 239, is one of the 3 players with 3 interception return touchdowns, and is the 3rd with 2 interception return touchdowns in a single game. He performed the double interception return touchdown feat vs Indiana.

In 2021, Moss had 39 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, and 5 passes deflected. This was enough to earn him the teams Hustle Award, a first-team All-America selection by Sporting News, a second-team All-America selection by FWAA and Phill Steele, a first-team Big-Ten selection by coaches, media, Phil Steele, and the Associated Press, the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year Award, and a semi-final appearance for the Jim Thorpe Award. Additionally, Moss has been named to the 2022 Lott IMPACT Trophy preseasons Watch List. This trophy is given to college football’s best defensive player in character and performance. 


Cornerback – Denzel Burke – Ohio State


Burke was a true freshman in 2021 and it’s safe to say his college career is off to a nice start. He made history in his very first game by being the first true freshman to start on defense for the Buckeyes since Andy Katzenmoyer in 1996. Burke had 37 total tackles and an interception in the 2021 season. He returned his only interception to the house for a touchdown against Rutgers. Additionally, Burke started in all 13 games and led the team in total passes defended with 13. With such an impressive true freshman year under his belt, one can only imagine what he has in store in year two. 


Safety – Xavier Henderson – Michigan State


Henderson has been one of the most important players for the Spartans the last couple seasons. Out of all of the active players on the Michigan State roster, Henderson has the most total tackles with 235. Heading into the 2021 season, Henderson was named a team captain. In 2021, Henderson had 96 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 passes deflected, a forced fumble, and an interception under his resume. This was enough for Henderson to earn a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and PFF. Heading into his 5th season,

Henderson is hoping to make some more waves before heading into the NFL Draft. Experts have their eyes out on Henderson to be one of the top safety draft prospects in 2023. This is evident by the fact that he’s been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, an award given to the best defensive player in college football by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. 


Safety – Ronnie Hickman – Ohio State


2021 was Hickman’s first year as a starter for the Buckeyes and he proved his worth. Hickman had 98 total tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and 2 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. His stats in tackles and interceptions were good enough to lead the team in both categories. His performances were honored by a selection in the second-team all-Big Ten Conference by coaches. As a result, Hickman has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list


Kicker – Jake Moody – Michigan


In 2021, he led the team with 125 points. This is good for the second-highest single-season total in school history and most by a kicker in school history. He was also the winner of the Lou Groza award, an award given to the best placekicker in college football, and was the first kicker in program history to win that award. Moody had a 92% field goal percentage and is hoping to run back the success of his 2021 campaign this year. 


Punter – Adam Korsak – Rutgers


Korsak had a very successful 2021. He set an NCAA record for best net punt with 45.25. He earned a second team All-America selection by Walter Camp, FWAA, the Associated Press, and Phil Steele. Korsak was selected first team All-Big Ten by coaches and Phil Steele. As a result of his stellar 2021, he was a finalist in the Ray Guy award, an award given to the best punter in college football, and won the fan vote.