10 most exciting B1G offensive players returning in 2019
The deadline to declare for the NFL Draft has come and gone, allowing us to forecast which B1G players have decided to pursue a professional career and who will be returning to campus. Now that we know who’s coming back, we can take a look at some of the most talented B1G players in 2019.
We’ll start with the offense and name the most exciting B1G stars returning on that side of the football. There are a plethora of receivers who have made the list, but only one quarterback earned a spot.
Here’s a look at the 10 most exciting B1G offensive players in 2019:
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Arguably the B1G’s best shot to break the conference’s Heisman Trophy drought. It may sound strange for a wide receiver, but considering how much Moore touches the football, he’ll be on a lot of ballots in the preseason. Moore was named the B1G Freshman and Receiver of the Year and was a consensus All-American selection after totaling 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was the league’s most explosive player as a true freshman and will be even better in 2019, somehow.
Adrian Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Looking for a new B1G quarterback to be that do-it-all guy now that Trace McSorley is leaving Penn State? Martinez is going to be that guy, but he has the potential to be a lot better, especially in Scott Frost’s offense. With a full year in the system, Martinez has the potential to be one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country in 2019. With help on the way, Martinez shouldn’t have to carry as much of the offensive weight next season, but he’s a candidate to hit 2,500 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards as a sophomore.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
There may not be a player in college football who is as underappreciated and undervalued as Taylor. He was the only running back in college football to eclipse 2,000 yards last season and he’s totaled more than 4,000 yards in his first two seasons at Wisconsin. The Badgers’ offense isn’t exactly the most exciting to watch, but Taylor’s ability to break tackles and outrun defenders is certainly entertaining. Behind another strong offensive line, Taylor should be fun to watch next fall.
Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
Just throw the football in Johnson’s direction and he’s going to make a play. That seemed to be the case quite a bit for Minnesota quarterbacks Zack Annexstad and Tanner Morgan last season. Johnson has excellent awareness and has that go-up-and-get-it ability that infuriates defenders. He’ll be part of a really talented Gophers receiving corps next fall, but Johnson is still the go-to target. He could easily be the B1G’s leading receiver.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
Peoples-Jones has great versatility and is as explosive as a punter returner as he is a wide receiver. Michigan doesn’t have one of those high-powered passing attacks that have become so prominent in college football, but Peoples-Jones has the ability to turn short gains into long touchdowns. His speed and big-play ability will be huge for Michigan’s offense.
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
A back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher, Dobbins is going to carry a heavy load for the Buckeyes again in 2019. He’s got a great burst and excellent speed, making him hard to catch if he reaches the second level. With Ryan Day in charge, Ohio State will obviously still operate under a pass-heavy offense, but that will likely continue to open up space for Dobbins on the ground. And when he gets space, there aren’t many defenders that can keep up with him.
Anthony McFarland, RB, Maryland
It’ll be interesting to see how Mike Locksley and Scottie Montgomery use McFarland in a new offense, but the freshman running back thrived in Matt Canada’s system. He found open lanes frequently and put defenders in the dust when he was in open space. McFarland ended the season on a high note, rushing for over 200 yards in two of Maryland’s final three games.
JD Spielman, WR, Nebraska
Spielman is another B1G receiver capable of turning short passes into big gains, and he’s got a knack for eluding defenders. He’s a terrific route-runner and creates space with his speed. With Martinez targeting Spielman frequently next season, he has the potential to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards and being one of the top receivers in the B1G.
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
One of the few do-it-all players in the B1G, Hamler was used as a receiver, kick returner, punt returner and even a running back throughout the season for the Nittany Lions. Basically, he’s the light version of Saquon Barkley, for now. Hamler certainly has the ability to leave his mark on the program and will likely become the top target in the offense in 2019. With Penn State losing so many offensive weapons, Hamler will likely get even more opportunities to make big plays in his sophomore campaign.
K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
Hill is the only one of Ohio State’s top four receivers who is returning for 2019, putting him into that go-to role. And in Day’s offense, he’ll be targeted pretty frequently, regardless who’s under center for the Buckeyes. In a pass-heavy, high-powered offense, Hill will have the opportunity to be a 1,000-yard receiver next fall.
Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan; Reggie Corbin, RB, Illinois; Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa; Stevie Scott, RB, Indiana; Isaih Pacheco, RB, Rutgers