Tag Archives: Penn State Nittany Lions

2018 Preview: Wisconsin Badgers

Season outlook

Wisconsin was a touchdown away from representing the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff a season ago.  With sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor and junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook (6’4, 218) back in the fold, there’s reason for optimism in Madison.  With roster turnover and coaching changes in the conference, Wisconsin is a safe pick to win the Big Ten in 2018.  On defense, the Badgers have to replace seven starters from a season ago but will return linebacker T.J. Edwards (6’1, 244) for his senior season.  Edwards was a first- team All-American a season ago and recorded four interceptions.  On the back end, safety D’Cota Dixon (5’10, 198) has started 23 games and will be the elder statesman in a secondary which welcomes three new starters around him. If Wisconsin has a spot of concern it could be the inexperience at defensive back. However, the Badgers had the nation’s second-best total defense last season and with its offensive playmakers having another year of experience under their belts, look for Wisconsin to compete again for a College Football Playoff spot.

Troy’s player to watch

23 Jonathan Taylor 5’11 214 RB-Sophomore
 
Taylor, a former state champion in track and field with 10.49 100-meter speed, burst onto the college football scene last season, rushing for 1,997 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Wisconsin running back will enter 2018 as one of the best players in the nation and a Heisman candidate.  Head coach Paul Chryst has prided himself on running the football early and often.  He will once again rely on Taylor to shoulder the load.  Expect Taylor to get anywhere from 275- to-300 touches in 2018 and to lead the conference in rushing yards.

Game of the season

October 13th at Michigan
 
The Badgers will get their first test of the season when they go on the road to the Big House.  Wisconsin won’t have to play Michigan State and Ohio State until a potential conference championship game. The Badgers defeated the Wolverines last year, 24-10, in Madison.  It’s a good chance the only two ranked teams Wisconsin will face during the regular season are Michigan and Penn State, which means they could run the table to an undefeated season.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

63 Michael Deiter 6’6 329 OC-Senior

Where will Deiter line up this fall?  After all, he’s earned starts at center, left guard and left tackle.  The position he may be best suited to play on a regular basis is left guard.  As a left tackle, there could be next level question marks regarding his foot speed.  While at that position, however, he takes the correct hinge steps on the backside and locks out his arms favorably in pass pro.  His tenacity as a run blocker is most evident on trap blocks.  In these instances, he has shown the ability to throw defensive linemen around (see Nebraska ’16).  Perhaps even more exciting for NFL scouts is the fact that he’s displayed an adequate ability to snap and pull from the center position.  Deiter’s value for the NFL-level is his positional flexibility.

Prediction:  11-1 overall

The Wisconsin Badgers will win the Big Ten West division but will not go undefeated. Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting a road loss in November to Penn State. 

2018 Season Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Season outlook

As fall camp kicks off, Ohio State will have to navigate life without Urban Meyer, who is currently on administrative leave.  Not only will they have to make up for Meyer’s absence, but also the departures of numerous NFL draft picks.  However, if anyone is equipped to handle change it’s the Ohio State Buckeyes, who will have talent across the board.  Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (6’3, 220) was impressive in spot duty last year and will take over at quarterback for J.T. Barrett.  The sophomore quarterback completed six of his seven passes against Michigan and for the season threw four touchdowns against just one interception.  Haskins can rely on sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (5’10, 214) and sophomore tight end Luke Farrell (6’6, 250) to take some of the pressure off of his shoulders.  On defense, the Buckeyes will control the trenches with junior defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Dre’mont Jones (6’3 286).  The Buckeyes have all the talent in the world and should once again be in the running for a College Football Playoff appearance.

Troy’s player to watch

97 Nick Bosa 6’4 263 DE-Junior
Bosa comes from NFL genes but he is an NFL-caliber player in his own right.  He was named the conference’s lineman of the year and led the Buckeyes with eight sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2017. The junior defensive lineman has the tools to be a top five draft pick and if he turns in another stellar season, look for him to enter the NFL Draft after his junior season.

Game of the season

September 29th at Penn State
The Buckeyes squeaked past the Nittany Lions last year, 39-38, in Columbus. This year’s renewal of the rivalry could be just as close a contest.  The last two years the battle has had major conference and bowl game implications, and this year it has the makings to be the same.  Look for Ohio State to play one of their most competitive games of the season on September 29th in Happy Valley.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

83 Terry McLaurin 6’1 205 WR-Senior
The last time a wide receiver stood out wearing No. 83 at Ohio State was the late Terry Glenn, one of the best players in school history.  Despite catching just 29 passes in 2017, McLaurin -a 4.4 speedster- put six of those receptions in the end zone.  Dating back to his freshman campaign, he has also shown up on special teams (7 tackles in 2015).  While his speed is a factor, he has to demonstrate more of an ability running the route tree to get looks from NFL scouts as an outside the numbers threat.  He’s actually shown an ability to work the sidelines and settle into soft zones versus zone coverage.  His strength and balance are perhaps his most impressive attributes.  McLaurin will test well for NFL scouts.

Prediction:  12-0

Even with some uncertainty at head coach, Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting an undefeated regular season and another appearance in the College Football Playoff for the Buckeyes. Contests against Penn State and Michigan State on the road could be problematic, but the Buckeyes have the personnel to beat everyone in the Big Ten.