An Early Look at the 2012 B1G Legends Division (Pre-Spring)

1. Michigan 10-2 (7-1)

michigan logo

2012 Forecast

IF the Wolverines can find somewhat productive replacements for Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen and find consistency on offense, they should have another very good season.

Key Returnees

Offense: Denard Robinson (QB-SR) 142-258 (55%) 2173 Yds. 20 TD 15 INT – 221 Carries 1176 Yds (5.3) 16 TD. B1G Football Honorable mention.Denard Robinson - OSU

Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB-JR) 187 Carries 1091 Yds (5.6) 9 TD – 6 Rec 1 TD. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Jeremy Gallon (WR-JR) 31 Rec. 453 (14.6) 3 TD.

Taylor Lewan (OT-JR) B1G Football Second Team.

Defense: Jordan Kovacs (SS-SR) 75 Tackles 8 Tfl 4 Sacks 1 Int.

Kenny Demens (MLB-SR) 94 tackles 5 Tfl 3 Sacks. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Jake Ryan (SAM-SO) 37 Tackles 11 Tfl 3 Sacks.

Craig Roh (DE-SR) 32 Tackles 8 Tfl 4 Sacks.

Key Departures

Craig RohOffense: Dave Molk (C) First Team AP All-American, First Team B1G, Rimington Trophy winner.

Junior Hemmingway (WR) 34 Rec. 699 Yds. 4 TD. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Kevin Koger (TE) 24 Rec. 244 Yds. 4 TD.

Defense: Mike Martin (DT) 64 Tackles 6 Tfl 3.5 Sacks. B1G Football Second Team.

Ryan Van Bergen (DE/DT) 45 tackles 12.5 Tfl 5.5 Sacks. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Impact Freshmen

Ondre Pipkins (DT) – One of the top defensive tackles in the country might have to step in and fill the shoes of Mike Martin from day one.

Joe Bolden (LB) – Arrived in January and will probably push for some playing time.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swO9Ir79Dvo[/tube]

Kyle Kalis (OL) – The five star lineman just might push for some pt at one of the guard positions next fall.

A.J. Williams (TE) – Has the size and strength to step in from day one and earn some minutes at a position of great need.

Coaching Seat Thermometer

Cold – You can’t ask for much more out of a first season than 11 wins and a BCS victory. Coach Hoke has earned himself a rather long leash.

 

2. Nebraska 9-3 (5-3)

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2012 Forecast

Nebraska has to replace its top 3 defensive players going into 2012 and need more consistent play from Taylor Martinez. Their schedule sets up for a decent run at the Legends Division.

Key Returnees

Offense: Taylor Martinez (QB-JR) 162-288 (56.2%) 2089 Yds. 13 TD 8 INT – 188 Carries 1040 Yds (4.6) 9 TD.Taylor Martinez

Rex Burkhead (RB-SR) 284 Carries 1357 Yds. (4.8) 15 TD – 21 Rec. 177 Yds. 2 TD. First Team All B1G.

Amir Abdullah (RB-SO) 42 Carries 172 Yds. (3.6) 3 TD. 1 Rec. 11 Yds. Punt Returns – 15 107 Yds. (7.1). Kick Returns – 26 763 Yds. (29.3) 1 TD.

Jeremiah Sirles (OT-JR) 32 Rec. 467 Yds. (14.4)

Defense: Baker Steinkuhler (DT-SR) 40 Tackles 5 Tfl 2 Sacks. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Will Compton (LB-SR) 82 Tackles 7 Tfl .5 Sacks. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Daimion Stafford (S-SR) 80 Tackles 3 Tfl .5 Sacks 10 Pass Breakups. B1G Football Honorable mention

Brett Maher (P-SR) 59 Punts 2626 Yds. (44.5). 25 Inside the 20. B1G Football First Team.

Key Departures

Offense: Brandon Kinnie (WR) 22 Rec. 257 Yds. 1 TD.

Mike Caputo (C) B1G Football Honorable mention.

Marcel Jones (OT) B1G Football Honorable mention.

Defense: Jared Crick (DT) 22 Tackles 3 Tfl 1 Sack. (Injury)

Lavonte David (LB) 133 Tackles 13 Tfl 5.5 Sacks 2 Int. B1G Football First Team.

Alfonzo Dennard (CB) 31 Tackles 6 Pass Breakups. B1G Football First Team.

Impact Freshmen

Mohammed Seisay (S-JC) Not a freshman, but has the size to come in and compete right away in the Cornhusker secondary.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pOS05Lw3Lo[/tube]

Coaching Seat Thermometer

Cold – Bo Pelini has had a very successful four seasons as head man in Lincoln amassing a 38-16 (70.3%) overall record and going 2-2 in bowls. For now that seems good enough for Husker nation.

 

3. Michigan State 7-5 (5-3)

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2012 Forecast

Once again MSU should be very stout defensively, but there are many question marks on the other side of the ball. It will be interesting to see how the offense manufactures points after losing so much talent. I look for Sparty to take a small step backwards.

Key Returnees

Offense: Le’Veon Bell (RB-JR) 182 Carries 948 Yds. (5.2) 13 TD – 35 Rec. 267 Yds. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Dion Sims (TE-JR) 12 Rec. 99 (8.2) 3 TD.

Le'Veon BellTravis Jackson (OC-SO)

Defense: William Gholston (DE-JR) 70 Tackles 16 Tfl 5 Sacks. B1G Football Second Team.

Marcus Rush (SO-DE) 58 Tackles 12 Tfl 4 Sacks. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Denicos Allen (JR-LB) 83 tackles 18.5 Tfl 11 Sacks. B1G Football Second Team.

Isaiah Lewis (S-JR) 74 Tackles 2.5 Tfl 4 Int. B1G Football Second Team.

Key Departures

Offense: Kirk Cousins (QB) 267-419  3316 Yds. 25 TD 10 INT

Edwin Baker (RB) 170 Carries 665 Yds. 5 TD – 5 Rec. 60 Yds. 1 TD

B.J. Cunningham (WR) 79 Rec. 1306 Yds. 12 TD.

Keshawn Martin (WR) 66 Rec. 777 Yds. 4 TD. 25 Punt Returns 274 Yds. 1 TD.

Joel Foreman (OG) B1G Football First Team.

Defense: Jerel Worthy (DT) 30 Tackles 10.5 Tfl. 3.5 Sacks. B1G Football First Team.

Trenton Robinson (S) 80 Tackles 2 Tfl. 4 INT

Impact Freshmen

Aaron Burbridge (WR) With the departure of so many weapons at receiver, the Harrison standout could come in and play immediately.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydZGJ3PDlIo[/tube]

DeAnthony Arnett (WR-SO) Arnett transferred from Tennessee to the Spartans to be closer to his ailing father. A huge get for MSU. Might not be eligible right away.

Coaching Seat Thermometer

Cold – Dantonio has led the Spartans to winning seasons in four of his five seasons in East Lansing and to their first bowl victory since 2001.

 

4. Iowa 8-4 (5-3)

Iowa2

2012 Forecast

Iowa has a lot of question marks going into the 2012 season. The running back position is always changing, they could lose 3/5 of the offensive line if Riley Reiff decides to go pro and the defensive line needs some work. Their schedule sets up pretty nicely though, as they don’t play either Wisconsin or OSU.

Key Returnees

Offense: James Vandenberg (QB-SR) 237-404 (58.7) 3022 Yds. 25 TD 7 INT

Keenan Davis (WR-SR) 50 Rec. 713 Yds. (14.3) 4 TDJames Vandenberg

CJ Fiedorowicz (TE-JR) 16 Rec. 167 Yds. (10.4) 3 TD

Defense: James Morris (LB-JR) 110 Tackles 3.5 Tfl. 1 Int. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Micah Hyde (S-SR) 72 Tackles 1.5 Tfl. 3 Int. B1G Football Second Team.

Tanner Miller (S-JR) 76 Tackles 3 Tfl. 3 Int.

Key Departures

Offense: Marcus Coker (RB) 281 Carries 1384 Yds. 15 TD – 21 Rec. 157. B1G Football Second Team.

Marvin McNutt (WR) 82 Rec. 1315 Yds. 12 TD B1G Football First Team.

Riley Reiff (OT-SR) B1G Football First Team.

Adam Gettis (OG) B1G Football Second Team.

Defense: Broderick Binns (DE) 60 Tackles 12 Tfl. 5 Sacks 1 Int. B1G Football Second Team.

Mike Daniels (DT) 67 Tackles 13.5 Tfl 9 Sacks. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Shaun Prater (CB) 51 Tackles 1 Tfl. 1 Sack 1 Int. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Impact Freshmen

Greg Garmon (RB) – With Iowa’s running back situation always seeming to be in flux, Garmon could possibly get some early playing time as a frosh.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igPzlaitekk[/tube]

Faith Ekakitie (DE/DT) – Ekakitie was one of the top performers at the Semper Fidelis Bowl. He is super athletic and has good enough size to possibly compete early on.

Coaching Seat Thermometer

Cold – Ferentz is the B1G’s highest paid coach at $3.785 million large a season. Despite all of the issues in Iowa City, Ferentz gets the best out of his players almost every year and is stable.

 

5. Northwestern 5-7 (3-5)

Northwestern

2012 Forecast

The Wildcats are losing a ton of experience on both side of the ball, but quite a few youngin’s got a lot of experience in 2011. I’m calling for a step back for 2012.

Key Returnees

Kain ColterOffense: Kain Colter (QB–JR) 55-82 (67.1) 673 Yds. 6 TD 1 INT – 135 Carries 654 Yds. (4.8) 9 TD – 43 Rec. 466 Yds. 3 TD.

Treyvon Green (RB-SO) 97 Carries 362 Yds. (3.7) 4 TD – 10 Rec. 39 Yds.

Marc Venric (RB-JR) 15 Carries 104 Yds. 1 TD – Punt Returns 8 for 127 Yds. (15.9) – Kick Returns 40 for 915 Yds. (22.9).

Demetrius Fields (WR-SR) 32 Rec. 382 Yds. (11.9) 3 TD.

Brian Mulroe (OG-SR) B1G Football Honorable mention.

Defense: Abraheim Campbell (S-SO) 100 Tackles 3.5 Tfl. 2 Int.

David Nwabuisi (LB-SR) 84 Tackles 8.5 Tfl. 1 Sack.

Tyler Scott (DE-JR) 31 Tackles 3 Tfl. 1 Sack 1 Int.

Key Departures

Offense: Dan Persa (QB) 218-297 2376 Yds. 17 TD 7 INT. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Jacob Schmidt (RB) 107 Carries 476 Yds. 5 TD.

Jeremy Ebert (WR) 75 Rec. 1060 Yds. 11 TD. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Drake Dunsmore (TE) 45 Rec. 552 Yds. 6 TD.

Defense: Jordan Maybin (CB) 62 Tackles 1 Int. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Brian Peters (S) 92 Tackles 4 Tfl. 1 Sack 5 Int. B1G Football Second Team.

Bryce McNaul (LB) 76 Tackles 6 Tfl. .5 Sacks 1 Int.

Vince Browne (DE) 36 Tackles 3.5 Tfl. 3 Sacks.

Impact  Freshmen

Ifeadi Odenigbo (OLB/DE) The Ohio standout was the biggest coup for Northwestern that I can ever remember. The super athletic Odenigbo is one of the best prospects in the country regardless of position and has a great shot to play early.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlgUSdJGYxM[/tube]

Eric Wilson (WR/S) A very versatile player who’s stock has been rising over the past few months.

Coaching Seat Thermometer

Cold – Pat Fitzgerald is one of the brilliant young talents in college football. As long as he wants to stay in Evanston, he’ll be welcomed.

 

6. Minnesota 4-8 (2-6)

Minnesota

2012 Forecast

I think Jerry Kill was a good hire for the Gophers, but it’s going to take a few years for him to get where he wants to be. Minny should have a pretty similar 2012 as they did in ‘11.

Key Returnees

Offense: MarQueis Gray (QB-SR) 108-213 (50.7) 1495 Yds. 8TD 8 INT – 199 Carries 966 Yds. (4.9) 6 TD

Donnell Kirkwood (RB-SO) 63 Carries 243 Yds. (3.6) 3 TDDonnell Kirkwood

Brandon Green (WR-SR) 15 Rec. 190 Yds. (12.7) 1 TD

Defense: Keanon Cooper (LB-SR) 77 Tackles 6 Tfl. 1 Sack

Brock Vereen (CB-JR) 67 Tackles 3.5 Tfl 1 Int

DL Wilhite (DE-SR) 16 Tackles 3 Tfl 3 Sacks

Key Departures

Offense: Duane Bennett (RB) 166 Carries 639 Yds 3 TD – 3 Rec. 23 – 1 Punt Return 30 Yds (TD) 11 Kickoff Returns 344 Yds 1 TD.

Da’Jon McKnight (WR) 51 Rec. 760 Yds. 4 TD

Chris Bunders (OG) B1G Football Honorable mention.

Defense: Kim Royston (S) 123 Tackles 3.5 Tfl. 1 Sack 1 Int. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Gary Tinsley (LB) 87 Tackles 9 Tfl 4 Sacks.

Anthony Jacobs (DT) 26 Tackles 6 Tfl. 1 Sack.

Impact Freshmen

Maxx Williams (TE) – At 6’4” 230 Williams has the size and athleticism to come in early and make an impression at a position of need.

Coaching Seat Thermometer

Cold – Coach Kill is coming into his second season and will have a couple years to develop his kids. Recruiting is going to have to pick up quite a bit.

 

You can let us know below how you think the standings will bear out next season. Sean can be followed on Twitter via @WIBLUEFAN or emailed at Sean@UMGoBlog.com.

3 thoughts on “An Early Look at the 2012 B1G Legends Division (Pre-Spring)”

  1. I would put Michigan State over Nebraska with how much defensive talent the Cornhuskers are losing. And Colter at Northwestern, another QB nobody has heard of that will probably throw for 3,000 yds by years end. Good in-depth preview!

    1. Thanks for the response.

      I had a difficult time deciding how to place Nebraska and Sparty, they were more or less a coin flip. MSU looses a TON offensively and I just tried to figure out how they’d put up any points on the scoreboard. The Huskers do lose some nice talent on defense, but they do get a bunch of talented JUCOS each season which helps a lot. I’ll tweak things after spring.

      Colter is a special talent, but he can’t play all of the skill positions on offense at one time. Northwestern got killed by graduation on both sides of the ball, luckily they did get some of their young players some action in 2011.

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