Forde: Buckeyes highlight list of intriguing non-quarterbacks
Pat Forde, like the rest of the world, has a little bit of interest in Ohio State.
The Yahoo college sports columnist came out with his list of 25 intriguing non-quarterbacks of 2015, and of course, Buckeyes topped the list. Braxton Miller took the top spot while Heisman candidate Ezekiel Elliott came in right behind him.
Miller, of course, made the switch to receiver this offseason. His seven Big Ten awards all came at the quarterback position, but that didn’t prevent him from making the non-quarterback list.
Forde also highlighted the Big Ten’s top two defensive ends in Joey Bosa (No. 10) and Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun (No. 18).
And even though he hasn’t played a full season, Michigan freshman Jabrill Peppers cracked Forde’s list. The electric former five-star recruit is expected to play on all three units for the Wolverines in 2015.
Here’s a complete look at what Forde had to say about each Big Ten player on his list:
1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State wide receiver. Until last month he was ticketed for the Most Intriguing Quarterback List. Then the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year made the biggest position switch of 2015, which should lower Urban Meyer’s stress level in deciding on a QB while simultaneously helping the Buckeyes get another weapon on the field. And it should help Miller’s NFL future as well. Can’t wait to see how Meyer uses him.
2. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State running back. From the moment J.T. Barrett went down on the first play of the fourth quarter against Michigan last year, Elliott put the Buckeyes on his back in heroic fashion. He broke a 44-yard clinching touchdown against the Wolverines, then followed that up with 220 yards against Wisconsin, 230 against Alabama and 246 against Oregon. It was a season-ending tour de force that stamps Elliott as the 2015 Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
10. Joey Bosa, Ohio State defensive end. With another season like the last one, Bosa will get serious consideration for the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft – if he comes out early. May not have J.J. Watt strength, but for 6-6 and 275 pounds he is startlingly athletic. The most important of four Buckeyes who must sit out the first game, at Virginia Tech, for disciplinary reasons.
18. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State defensive end. Surprised a lot of people by returning to school. The reason? He wants to be the first person in his family to graduate from college. Then he probably will proceed to make a lot of money in the NFL doing what he does very well in college – rushing the quarterback. Calhoun had eight sacks and eight quarterback hurries last year, despite being the focal point of most opposing protection schemes.
20. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan defensive back. Hugely touted recruit who barely played after being injured last year early in his freshman season. His absence didn’t help Brady Hoke keep his job – and his presence could help successor Jim Harbaugh make an immediate impact. Pepper is athletic enough to play corner, physical enough to play safety and versatile enough that you may see him on offense, too.