Cass Tech alum Mike Weber is Big Ten’s top freshman back

Eric Olson
Associated Press

Ohio State’s Mike Weber has established himself as one of the nation’s top first-year players and a worthy successor to Ezekiel Elliott. Michigan’s Rashan Gary has lived up to his billing as the country’s No. 1 overall recruit.

Other young players have begun to emerge across the Big Ten. Here’s a look at the best freshmen on each team:

■ Illinois: Guard Darta Lee became the first true freshman to start a season opener on the Illini’s offensive line in at least 20 years.

■ Indiana: Marcelino Ball, a hybrid linebacker-safety, is third on the team with 27 tackles. He had a season-high nine tackles against Wake Forest.

■ Iowa: Defensive end Anthony Nelson opened the season with a big performance against Miami (Ohio), forcing two fumbles that led to touchdowns and recording 2½ sacks.

■ Maryland: Running back Lorenzo Harrison is the first Terrapins freshman to score a touchdown in each of his first four games.

■ Michigan: Gary has made 4½ tackles for loss and a sack with four quarterback hurries.

Michigan State: Donnie Corley had a four-catch, 88-yard game against Notre Dame that featured a one-handed touchdown grab. Four of his 14 catches have gone for 20 yards or longer, and 10 have been for either a first down or touchdown.

■ Minnesota: Defensive end Tai’yon Devers had two sacks and two forced fumbles leading to touchdowns against Oregon State.

■ Nebraska: Caleb Lightbourn has carried the burden of replacing punter Sam Foltz, who was killed in a car crash in July. Lightbourn, who p planned to redshirt this season, is averaging 39.3 yards on 17 punts and has put five kicks inside the 20-yard line.

■ Northwestern: Cornerback Trae Williams made his first interception on Iowa’s final drive to secure a win last week. He had seven tackles and two breakups in a win over Duke.

■ Ohio State: Weber’s average of 123.8 yards is tops among freshman rushers, and his 7.3 yards a carry ranks third among players with at least 65 attempts.

■ Penn State: Linebacker Cam Brown had a 10-tackle game against Michigan and nine last week in his first career start against Minnesota.

■ Purdue: Linebacker Markus Bailey has 21 tackles, with nine coming against Cincinnati, and an interception.

■ Rutgers: Receiver Jawaun Harris, the Big Ten leader in stolen bases last baseball season, caught a 75-yard touchdown pass against New Mexico.

■ Wisconsin: Quarterback Alex Hornibrook led a comeback win against Georgia State and beat Michigan State.