B1G NCAA Tournament players we'd love to see in college football
With the eyes of the sports world fixated on college basketball, it wouldn’t be surprising if B1G football coaches were scouting some of the athletes they have roaming their own campuses.
The 6-7 athletic freaks are all over the B1G, many of whom haven’t ever played organized football. Still, it would be entertaining to see what they and others with transferrable skill sets, could do on the football field.
Here are the B1G’s NCAA Tournament players we’d love to see playing football:
Troy Williams, Indiana — Perhaps nobody in the B1G flies higher than the 6-7 Williams. Can you imagine the jump balls he would get playing in Kevin Wilson’s offense? His specialty is already running the baseline and soaring above defenders at the point of attack. Williams has a quick first step and he adjusts well on lobs thrown his way. Even if he might be on the skinny side, Williams’ skill set certainly would transfer to the gridiron.
Ahmad Wagner, Iowa — Wagner could’ve played big-time college football. The 6-7 all-state receiver had 58 catches for 1,028 yards and 17 touchdowns in his only year of football at Wayne High School. Ohio State told him they would offer him if he decided to focus on football. Kentucky actually offered him and others were interested, but Wagner stuck with basketball instead. Wagner could’ve just been scratching the surface of his football potential. Perhaps Kirk Ferentz has a phone call to make to Fran McCaffery.
Melo Trimble, Maryland — Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A small, but lightning quick player stars in multiple roles for the Terps. On the football field, that’s the versatile Will Likely. Trimble would fit in just fine alongside Likely. The Maryland point guard has the quickness to play defensive back, or his lightning first step could help him as a ball-carrier, similar to what the Terps did with Likely at the end of 2015. Trimble is actually tall by football standards at 6-3, and he has some bulk to him. Given Maryland’s lack of offensive playmakers, someone with Likely’s agility and vision would be a welcome addition.
Zak Irvin, Michigan — John Beilein doesn’t exactly recruit guys with football player builds. The Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan-types are few and far between. Irvin, though he isn’t a post player, could probably do alright for himself playing football. He isn’t the quickest or the most physical, but he has size (6-6) and he developed a craftiness for getting open this year. Irvin would definitely take some developing but given his frame and intangibles, Jim Harbaugh would have plenty to work with.
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State — Possibly the 2015-16 National Player of the Year, nobody does more for his team than Valentine does. His abilities as a facilitator match up perfectly with that of a college quarterback. The 6-5 do-it-all senior doesn’t get rattled dribbling in heavy traffic, he always finds the open man and when he keeps it for himself, good things usually happen. I’m not saying Valentine can throw a football like Connor Cook, but his vision and decision-making would make any coach feel good with the ball in his hands.
— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) March 7, 2015
Isaac Haas, Purdue — Haas is just your typical high school athlete from Alabama. Like many, he grew up wanting to play left tackle. The only problem was that he grew up, and up, and up. Naturally, basketball was his ticket to a potential pro career. The 7-2, 285-pound Purdue center has the low-post footwork that would transfer well to an offensive line spot. There might not be a quarterback in America that could see over him, but you can bet no defensive lineman is reaching over Haas to deflect a pass.
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin — Hayes, whose brother was a former Ohio State player, prides himself on being a man of many talents, both mentally and physically. He once challenged the Wisconsin football team to an all-sports competition. A former high school football player himself, the 6-8, 240-pound junior would be an ideal fit at tight end. He had to play a more physical style as the Badgers’ main weapon on the hardwood in 2016. Combine that with his exceptional hands and Wisconsin would have itself a dangerous target over the middle. But if you asked Hayes if he’d trade his basketball career for a football career, he’d probably tell you…