J.T. Barrett, Malik McDowell highlight our preseason All-Big Ten team

Ohio State's J.T. Barrett should shine this season, now that the quarterback job is all his. Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The 2016 season is so, so close. Before it kicks off, we present our picks for the 2016 preseason All-Big Ten team:


QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: The most accomplished returning quarterback in the Big Ten could get back to his 2014 form -- he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting that season -- now that the job is once again all his.

RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State: A 1,000-yard season as a freshman merely set the stage for what's to come. And that should be amazing to watch.

RB Corey Clement, Wisconsin: This is based on 2014 production and 2016 potential, as last season was a washout for Clement. Still, he is averaging 6.6 yards per carry in his career.

WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan: A true deep threat who came on strong at the end of last season, Chesson leads a deep and experienced Wolverines receiving corps.

WR Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are still looking for their first 1,000-yard receiver. Maybe the sure-handed Westerkamp, who had 918 receiving yards in 2015, can break that ceiling in what should be an excellent Nebraska passing attack.

TE Jake Butt, Michigan: The owner of one of the best names in college football, Butt is also arguably the top tight end in the nation.

OT Nick Gates, Nebraska: After starting 10 games at right tackle as a redshirt freshman, Gates takes over at left tackle this year and should excel.

OG Dan Feeney, Indiana: A first-team All-American in 2015, Feeney has allowed only one career sack and has paved the way for one of the top offenses in the Big Ten.

C Pat Elflein, Ohio State: An All-American at guard, Elflein takes over snapping duties as a senior. Urban Meyer is already calling him one of the best centers in the country.

G Brian Allen, Michigan State: The younger brother of 2015 Spartans All-AmericanJack Allen, the younger Allen should rise to prominence this year on a rebuilt Michigan State line.

OT Cole Croston, Iowa: The former walk-on will play left tackle this season, and those who play that position for Kirk Ferentz usually end up doing great things.


DL Sam Hubbard, Ohio State: Don’t underestimate the athleticism of this former high school safety. He’s a terrific pass-rusher who had 6.5 sacks in situational time last year.

DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State: He said in April that he’s the best defensive lineman in the country -- and he might not be far off. McDowell can play any position on the line, and he can shed just about any one-on-one block.

DL Dawuane Smoot, Illinois: He has both speed and power off the edge, which makes him a first-round NFL draft pick in some mock drafts.

LB Anthony Walker, Northwestern: He already has his own comic book, lunch box and logo -- and major hardware could follow. He’s coming off an All-American season with 122 tackles and 20.5 tackles-for-loss.

LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State: A finalist for the Butkus Award, Ohio State’s “The Chosen One” is the leader of this defense and a versatile playmaker who racked up 119 tackles last year.

LB Riley Bullough, Michigan State: He’s on four preseason defensive watch lists -- Bednarik, Butkus, Lott and Nagurski -- and he’s a staple on what proves to be an elite defense year in and year out.

LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: Jim Harbaugh once said Peppers had the potential to be the “Willie Mays of football,” so wherever Peppers lines up, he’s sure to be an impact player. He was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award last year.

CB Desmond King, Iowa: Never before has a Jim Thorpe Award winner decided to return to school for one final season. We already consider King one of the Hawkeyes’ best defensive backs of the century.

CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan: Pro Football Focus actually rated Lewis as the nation’s best corner, even over the likes of King. Lewis led the FBS with 15 passes defended last year.

S Damarius Travis, Minnesota: The fifth-year senior was granted a medical redshirt last season and has already appeared in 40 career games. With cornerbacks Eric Murray and Briean Boddy-Calhoun now in the NFL, it’s Travis’ time to shine.

S Nate Gerry, Nebraska: Not only is he a two-time All-B1G selection, but he also led the Huskers in tackles (79), interceptions (4) and pass breakups (7) last season.


K Griffin Oakes, Indiana: Last year's Big Ten kicker of the year hit 24 of his 29 field-goal attempts and was 6-for-8 from 40 yards or longer.

P Cameron Johnston, Ohio State: His career punting average of 44.3 yards per attempt is third in Buckeyes history.

PR William Likely, Maryland: He ranked third in the FBS last year with a punt-return average of 17.7 yards, and he took two punts back for touchdowns.

KR Janarion Grant, Rutgers: He returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2015 while averaging 24.6 yards per attempt.