Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News offers her top five returning players to watch for this season in the Big Ten.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: As a freshman last season, Taylor rushed for 1,977 yards, breaking Adrian Peterson’s record for most rushing yards by a freshman. Taylor also scored 13 touchdowns and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award and was the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Badgers’ offensive staff will try to cut down on his work load this fall. Taylor became the starter in the second game last season and per the Journal Sentinel had 299 of the 535 tailback carries – 55.9 percent.
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State: Bosa was a first-team All-American last season and also won the Big Ten’s Defensive Lineman of the Year award. He led the Buckeyes in sacks with 8.5 and in tackles for loss with 16. He was challenged for playing time with several who are now in the NFL, so Bosa’s production should take a big jump this year. Through two seasons with the Buckeyes, he has 63 tackles, including 23 TFL and 13.5 sacks. He also has forced a fumble.
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan: Gary, who arrived at Michigan as the No. 1 high school prospect, is entering his junior season with every intention of being part of the best defense in the country. That’s what he has been projecting for months. Gary was a Big Ten First Team selection by the coaches and second team by media last year, and he earned the Richard Katcher Award given to the best defensive lineman/outside linebacker at Michigan. He had 65 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks during the 2017 season
Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State: McSorley was All-Big Ten second team last season after throwing for 3,570 yards and 28 touchdowns in his second year as starter. He also completed 66.5 percent of his attempts. He has the Penn State record for touchdown passes (59) and needs 1,089 yards to pass Christian Hackenberg (8,427) for career passing yards.
Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State: Bachie had a standout sophomore season for the Spartans last season and was voted the team’s MVP. He led the Spartans with 100 tackles, including 46 solo stops. He also had 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Bachie had three interceptions and two forced fumbles and was third-team All-Big Ten.