It’s time for the weekly edition of the Big Ten blog’s #FridayFive. Get settled in because that’s what this week’s subjects are currently doing on campus.
This week we take a look at five transfer players who could have a big impact on their new teams this fall. Some of them arrived a year ago and have bided their time before being able to contribute. Others have yet to land at their new homes, but are expected to jump right into the competition for starting jobs when they do. More are sure to follow as more spring sessions wind to a close and players and teams have a better idea of where they stand.
For now, here are five players we believe can influence their teams in 2015. Let us know what you think, who we missed and why your school’s transfer is going to be the difference this year. Share your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #B1GFridayFive.
Indiana RB Jordan Howard
If there were any winners when UAB decided to shutter its football program after the 2014 season, coach Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers are at the top of the list. Howard ran for 1,587 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Blazers in his sophomore season. He gives Indiana a seasoned rusher to replace Tevin Coleman, who declared for the NFL draft after a record-breaking junior season. As a bonus, Howard brought along teammate Marqui Hawkins. The sophomore wide receiver started his career at Florida before joining Howard in Birmingham last year. Because UAB no longer has a team, both players are eligible to play right away.
Michigan RB Ty Isaac
Isaac ran for 236 yards and two scores during his rookie season with USC, but the Chicagoland native returned to the Midwest to be closer to home. He impressed his teammates as a scout team player after the NCAA denied his request to play right away and is now ready to take the field. Isaac (6-foot-3, 240 pounds) has the size to be the type of bruising back that Jim Harbaugh loved to use during his time at Stanford. Michigan has a few strong options in the backfield, but Isaac undoubtedly will get a chance to pound away at Big Ten defenses in the fall.
Rutgers LB Kaiwan Lewis
The Scarlet Knights were able to pull another New Jersey prep star back into the fold this winter. Lewis left home for the SEC, where he played for South Carolina as a true freshman and started as a sophomore. But a knee injury knocked his career with the Gamecocks off course. He’ll graduate this May and be able to play for Rutgers right away for his final year of eligibility. That’s good because the Knights’ defense is in search of a physical linebacker to hold down the middle of the field.
Penn State OT Paris Palmer
This 6-foot-8, 306-pound former four-star prospect comes to Happy Valley after two seasons at a junior college in nearby Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions could use a hand on the offensive line after struggling to build chemistry with a young group in 2014. Palmer has a chance to come in and take one of the starting tackle spots right away. Penn State stocked up on offensive linemen in this year’s recruiting class, but few if any of them will be as prepared to play as Palmer is after two years in a college weight room.
Michigan QB Jake Rudock
The former Iowa starter got a waiver from the Big Ten to play at another conference school earlier this week, which cemented his move to Michigan. Rudock brings an important degree of experience to a well-populated quarterback room in Ann Arbor. He’ll be one of six scholarship quarterbacks on campus this fall, but among those eligible to play he’ll be the only one who has thrown a touchdown pass in college. Rudock can give new coach Jim Harbaugh a year to develop his other players while providing a consistent presence under center for the Wolverines.