Nebraska’s Trey Palmer made himself hard to ignore on Saturday, as did the guys who block for Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards at Michigan.

And it’s well past time for us to recognize someone from the best defense in America. We acknowledge that. So Illinois is going to get some extra love as we count down the top players in the Big Ten again this week.

Here’s what we have heading into another 5-game B1G slate this weekend:

10. Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

Illinois is getting strong play from all levels of its defense, but 6-2, 295-pound sophomore Jer’Zhan Newton stands out. He remained in the thick of things in a 26-14 win over Minnesota, posting a sack, 2 QB hurries and 4 tackles.

Among B1G defensive linemen, he ranks at or near the top in tackles (37), sacks (4) and TFL (8). According the school website, he’s ranked No. 3 in the country by PFF among interior defensive linemen. That seems accurate.

The Illini defense allows 221.1 yards and 8.8 points per game, ranking No. 1 in the nation in both.

“We know, of course, if a team doesn’t score, they can’t win,” Newton said earlier this season. Seems like that’s still holding true.

9. Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska

Palmer went off for a school-record 237 receiving yards and added a 60-yard run as the Huskers tried to keep up with Purdue in a 43-37 loss. With the monster game, the 6-1, 190-pound junior moved to the top spot in the B1G in receiving yards. He’s now averaging 111.6 per game.

The LSU transfer has a great shot at breaking Nebraska’s single-season record.

8. Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue

The former walk-on keeps finding ways to throw receivers open. Lob it, zip it, go back-shoulder, O’Connell does whatever it takes to keep the Boilermakers in the thick of the B1G West title chase. Against Nebraska, that meant putting the ball in the air 54 times, connecting on 35. He posted 391 yards and 4 TDs passing, and also made a gutsy run to convert a late 4th down and keep the Huskers from getting back on the field.

7. Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan

The grad transfer from Virginia, a Rimington Award finalist last year, anchors the Wolverines offensive line like he’s been with the group for years. Getting to the second level to punish Penn State defenders on Saturday, the 6-3, 307-pounder helped clear the way for the team’s 418-yard rushing day.

It his 42nd start as a college center, big No. 55 had himself a day along with standout left tackle Ryan Hayes and the rest of the crew. After dominating the ACC, Oluwatimi is dominating the B1G too.

6. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

The 6-4, 205-pound sophomore still has a share of the B1G lead in receiving TDs (9, tied with Purdue’s Charlie Jones) despite Ohio State having a bye last week.


5. Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State

Egbuka sits right behind Nebraska’s Palmer in receiving yards per game in the B1G (109.2) and remains on pace to finish with well over 1,000 yards this season.

The 6-1, 205-pound sophomore forms a dynamic duo with Harrison, and both will be needed when the Buckeyes host defensive-minded Iowa at noon Saturday.

4. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota

Ibrahim returned from a 1-game injury absence to post his 14th straight 100-yard game in a loss to Illinois.

With quarterback Tanner Morgan banged up and questionable, Ibrahim — No. 4 in the nation in rushing at 138.3 yards per game — will be needed as much as ever Saturday night at Penn State.

3. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

Corum — along with fellow back Donovan Edwards and the rest of the Wolverines offense — tore up the Penn State defense.

After posting 166 yards and 2 TDs on 28 carries, Corum ranks 6th in the country in rushing yards (128.7 per game), 9th in attempts (20.9 per game) and 1st in TDs (13).

2. Chase Brown, RB, Illinois

The 5-11, 205-pound junior belongs in one of those “never not working” commercials.

A week after carrying 31 times against Iowa, he toted the rock 41 times for 180 yards against Minnesota.

He leads the nation in attempts (27.4 per game) and the Power 5 in yards (151.3). Right now, he’s the only back in the country to have cracked the 1,000-yard mark. He’s at 1,059 heading into a well deserved bye.

Illinois (6-1) plays next at Nebraska on Oct. 29. Brown plans to spend a lot of time in the ice tub before then, but promises he’ll be ready when the season resumes. We have no doubt.

1. CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

The redshirt sophomore, coming off a bye week, leads the nation in passer rating, yards per attempt and TD throws.

With just an average game against Iowa this Saturday, he’ll climb to 4th on the Buckeyes’ all-time passing yards list. By the end of the season, barring injury, he’ll be No. 2 behind JT Barrett. He’s already No. 2 behind Barrett in TD throws (104-68).

Stroud probably won’t be back in 2023 to pass Barrett, but he’s going to give Buckeyes fans a heck of a ride the rest of this season.