A look at the Big Ten's 3-headed monsters

A few weeks ago, Rivals.com took a look at the nation's top triplets: the best quarterback/running back/wide receiver combos.

In ranking college football's top 15 triplets, Rivals singled out both Ohio State (No. 7) and Wisconsin (No. 9) from the Big Ten. The Badgers' triple threat of quarterback Scott Tolzien, running back John Clay and wide receiver Nick Toon "isn't as flashy as some others on this list but ... get the job done."

For Ohio State, Rivals lists Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, noting that Pryor could be a Heisman candidate and Posey "has big-time speed and is a top-flight deep threat." Whether Herron or Brandon Saine is the running back, the Buckeyes' offensive combo has the potential to be dangerous.

Both groups are deserving, although I'd probably put Wisconsin's group ahead of Ohio State's, mainly because of Clay.

Who are some other notable three-headed monsters in the Big Ten? I came up with a few.

Note: I only considered teams that had quarterbacks with Big Ten experience and weren't significantly lacking at one of the positions.


QB: Ben Chappell

RB: Darius Willis

WR: Tandon Doss

Rationale: I really, really like this group, especially if Willis can stay healthy. Chappell passed for 2,941 yards last season, and Doss averaged 12.5 yards per catch while ranking third in the league in receptions. Willis has home-run ability, as he showed against Michigan, Northwestern and others, and if he can develop some consistency, Indiana's combination should be very dangerous.


QB: Ricky Stanzi

RB: Adam Robinson or Jewel Hampton or Brandon Wegher

WR: Marvin McNutt or Derrell Johnson-Koulianos

Rationale: Stanzi can be criticized for his interceptions, but he also made a ton of big plays for the Hawkeyes last season. Both McNutt and DJK can really stretch the field -- McNutt averaged 19.8 yards a catch, DJK averaged 16.7 yards a catch -- and all three running backs have proven themselves to varying degrees in big games. If pressed to choose a big-play running back and wide receiver, I'd probably go with Hampton and McNutt.


QB: Kirk Cousins

RB: Larry Caper or Edwin Baker

WR: Keshawn Martin or Mark Dell or B.J. Cunningham or Keith Nichol

Rationale: Michigan State might have more overall depth at these three positions than any team in the Big Ten. Cousins passed for 2,680 yards last season, and Martin has the potential to be a major big-play receiver this fall. Both Caper and Baker showed flashes as true freshmen. If pressed to choose a running back and a receiver, I'd go with Caper and Martin.


QB: Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson

RB: Vincent Smith

WR: Roy Roundtree

Rationale: Forcier and Robinson both showcased big-play ability in 2009, the former with his arm and legs and the latter mostly with his legs. Michigan obviously has several running backs competing for playing time, but Smith boasts a lot of potential after averaging 5.8 yards a carry in limited work in 2009. Roundtree averaged 13.6 yards a catch last fall and hauled in a 97-yard touchdown from Robinson in the spring game. If I had to decide a QB, I'd go with Forcier, although both are good big-play options.