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5 Big Ten redshirt freshmen to watch this spring

No, they're certainly not the conference's most well-known players. And, no, you haven't even seen them play in a game yet.

But the Big Ten's redshirt freshmen are still one of the most intriguing groups to watch in the spring. Some will develop into four-year starters and others might even make multiple All-B1G squads over their careers. This is their first real opportunity to make an impact.

So who's impressing, and who's especially worth watching? Here's a closer look at five of the B1G's redshirt freshmen to keep an eye on:

1. Gabe Megginson, Illinois OL

He was an ESPN 300 prospect who chose Illinois over the likes of Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. So it's not as if Megginson's talent was a well-kept secret. Some outlets thought Megginson might even challenge for a starting spot as a true freshman. As a redshirt freshman? He appears to be a lock to start. He practiced with the first team on Monday, and big things are expected out of him. He's already 6-foot-5, 300 pounds. Could he be another Ted Karras in the making?

2. Mike Weber, Ohio State RB

According to Urban Meyer, the battle between Weber and Bri'onte Dunn is still "neck and neck." But Weber is looked upon as the running back with the higher ceiling. He's more of a slasher than Dunn, and he's been plenty effective. During a scrimmage last fall, for instance, Weber rushed 15 times for nearly 200 yards. And he's impressing once again this spring. Even if he doesn't start Week 1, Weber isn't going away anytime soon.

3. Jon Dietzen, Wisconsin OL

If he didn't miss time in camp with an ankle injury, he might've been part of the rotation last season. And if Wisconsin suffered one more guard injury, his redshirt might've been burned. That's a lot of "mights" -- but the point is that Dietzen was so good that he very nearly played as a true freshman. And now, after a redshirt season, he's been practicing with the first team at left guard and earning solid reviews. Offensive line coach Joe Rudolph referred to him as "incredibly powerful" and teammate Gunnar Roberge labeled him last season as "one of the strongest guys on the team." At 332 pounds, he certainly looks the part.

4. Kevin Givens, Penn State DL

The Nittany Lions have to replace a pair of starting defensive tackles who'll almost certainly be playing on Sundays, so there's definitely an opening here for a newcomer to make an impact. And it just so turns out that Givens has been the buzz of Penn State's spring. "He's the talk of spring ball right now," James Franklin said recently. "He's just so explosive, so strong, and he's been a guy that's really stood out so far." Players have agreed with Franklin's assessment. He's a little undersized right now at 267 pounds, but the staff is confident he can get to at least 275 by the fall. He's transitioning from defensive end this spring, so his performance has been a bit of a surprise. Even if he doesn't earn a starting job, he should still see plenty of time.

5. The Davis Twins (Carlos and Khalil), Nebraska DLs

Think it's cheating to pick two players here? Well, the Big Ten blog doesn't play by your rules. These two redshirt freshmen could be the future of the Nebraska defense and, although they're not yet part of the first team, they'll still undoubtedly see time this season. Khalil was actually named the Husker Power Athlete of the Year for his testing in the weight room, and Carlos gained about 20 pounds of muscle during his redshirt season. Both linemen are quick, and both are putting in the extra work this offseason.