1. MarQueis Gray, Minnesota: Gray possesses all the tools to be a superstar dual-threat QB. New Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover’s offense is tailor made for Gray’s talents. Gray has tremendous size (6’4”, 245lbs), speed, and arm strength. At Northern Illinois Limegrover’s offenses put up big numbers on the ground and Gray has the potential to rush for over 1,000 yards. His rushing ability will keep defenses honest and leave elite pass catchers such as Da’Jon McKnight and Eric Lair open downfield. Gray is one of three players that will compete to lead the B1G in total offense this year along with Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase and Michigan’s Denard Robinson.
2. Silas Redd, Penn State: Redd is a perfect blend of speed, power, and elusiveness. He hits the hole without hesitation and can make people miss downfield. With the Nitts QB situation still unsettled, they will rely heavily on the running game and that means Redd’s name will be called early and often with the graduation of Evan Royster. He’s no giant at 5-10/201, but he runs hard and packs a punch when he hits the hole. Look for Redd to compete for the B1G rushing crown with Montee Ball, Edwin Baker, and…..
3. Marcus Coker, Iowa: Coker is a big back and Iowa has almost no depth at the position so he will earn his scholarship this year with a heavy workload. Look for Coker to get 30+ carries per game, which will = huge rushing numbers. Coker could break Iowa’s single season rushing record this year. The Hawkeyes will also be breaking in a new starter at QB with James Vandenberg, who replaces Ricky Stanzi. All the more reason to run the ball with Coker. Coker was a beast late last year rushing for over 200 yards in the Hawkeyes Insight Bowl victory over Missouri.
4. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: Yeah I know, he’s not a rookie after starting for NC State, but he hasn’t taken a snap in the B1G. While Wilson will have to learn a new offense, don’t expect him to struggle early or ever this year. Wilson is a minor league baseball player and a multi-year starter in the ACC. I don’t think he will have too much trouble picking up the vanilla (but explosive) Wisconsin offense.
5. Jaamal Berry, Ohio State: What would a rookie head coach love to do? Hand the ball off to a really good running back. Berry will become just that for the Buckeyes. He averaged over 8 yards per carry in limited duty last year and should be able to crack 1,000 yards rushing without breaking a sweat. The mediocre Boom Herron will miss the first five games of the season due to suspension, which will benefit the Buckeyes offense and Jamaal Berry, who will take the starting tailback job and never look back.