Big Ten

A couple award-winners headline list of B1G undrafted free agents

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A couple award-winners headline list of B1G undrafted free agents

Being named the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year apparently aren't enough to get you drafted in the seven rounds of the NFL Draft.

But have no fear, as Mike Hull and Kurtis Drummond each found an NFL home despite not being selected over the three-day event this past weekend in Chicago.

Hull, the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and the latest product of Linebacker U at Penn State, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dolphins. Hull had 140 tackles during the 2014 season, also making 10.5 tackles for loss and two sacks to go along with an interception and a forced fumble. Hull's absence on many national linebacker of the year award finalist lists had many scratching their heads.

Drummond, who beat out teammate Trae Waynes for the conference's Defensive Back of Year honors, was signed by the Texans as an undrafted free agent. Waynes was the No. 11 overall pick in this year's draft, the second straight year a Michigan State cornerback has been drafted in the first round. But Drummond outdid Waynes on the collegiate field last season, leading the Spartans with 72 tackles and four interceptions.

[MORE BIG TEN: Complete list of Big Ten players selected in NFL Draft]

Hull and Drummond were the conference's biggest names to not get drafted and instead sign as undrafted free agents. But they were hardly the only ones.

Other interesting names included Iowa defensive lineman Louis Trinca-Pasat, the Lane Tech product who ended up signing with the Rams. Another Chicago-area Hawkeye, running back Mark Weisman out of Stevenson High School, signed with the Bengals.

Five Northwestern Wildcats found post-draft homes: Chi Chi Ariguzo signed with the Broncos, Jimmy Hall signed with the Raiders, Tony Jones signed with the Redskins, Brandon Vitabile signed with the Colts, and Kyle Prater, who went to Proviso West, signed with the Browns, who also drafted Northwestern safety Ibraheim Campbell.

Illinois had zero players drafted for the second straight season, though two tight ends, Matt LaCosse (out of Naperville North) and Jon Davis, signed with the Giants and Cowboys, respectively.

[MORE BIG TEN: Huskers' Randy Gregory out to prove doubters wrong after NFL Draft fall]

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner will try to make it as a wide receiver, signing as one with the Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Both of Purdue's speed-demon running backs found NFL teams: Akeem Hunt signed with the Giants, and Raheem Mostert signed with the Eagles.

Minnesota offensive lineman Zac Epping signed with the Vikings. Wisconsin defensive lineman Warren Herring signed with the Falcons, as did Indiana wide receiver Shane Wynn. Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant signed with the Chargers. Nebraska defensive back Josh Mitchell signed with the Colts. Michigan State linebacker Taiwan Jones signed with the Jets, while Spartans punter Mike Sadler signed with the Buccaneers and Spartans defensive lineman Marcus Rush signed with the 49ers.

[MORE BIG TEN: 2015 could be final year of Big Ten's first-round QB drought]

Here's a complete list of Big Ten players who signed as undrafted free agents (h/t to BTN.com):

Illinois Fighting Illini

Matt LaCosse, TE, Giants
Jon Davis, TE, Cowboys

Indiana Hoosiers

Collin Rahrig, OL, Steelers
Bobby Richardson, DL, Saints
Shane Wynn, WR, Falcons

Iowa Hawkeyes

Quinton Alston, LB, Buccaneers
Ray Hamilton, TE, Cowboys
John Lowdermilk, DB, Chargers
Kevonte Martin-Manley, WR, Browns
Louis Trinca-Pasat, DL, Rams
Mark Weisman, RB, Bengals

Maryland Terrapins

Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, LB, Titans
Cole Farrand, LB, Giants
Deon Long, WR, Titans
Matt Robinson, LB, Jaguars

Michigan Wolverines

Brennen Beyer, DE, Ravens
Devin Gardner, WR, Patriots

Michigan State Spartans

Kurtis Drummond, DB, Texans
Andrew Gleichert, TE, Eagles
Taiwan Jones, LB, Jets
Marcus Rush, DE, 49ers
Mike Sadler, P, Buccaneers

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Cameron Botticelli, DE, Chargers
Zac Epping, OL, Vikings
Isaac Freuchte, WR, Vikings
Derrick Wells, DB, Buccaneers

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Zaire Anderson, LB, Broncos
Jake Cotton, OL, Texans
Josh Mitchell, DB, Colts
Trevor Roach, LB, Bengals

Northwestern Wildcats

Chi Chi Ariguzo, LB, Chargers
Jimmy Hall, LB, Raiders
Tony Jones, WR, Redskins
Kyle Prater, WR, Browns
Brandon Viatbile, C, Colts

Ohio State Buckeyes

Darryl Baldwin, OL, Ravens
Curtis Grant, LB, Chargers

Penn State Nittany Lions

Deion Barnes, DE, Jets
Bill Belton, RB, Jets
Miles Dieffenbach, C, Steelers
Mike Hull, LB, Dolphins

Purdue Boilermakers

Gabe Holmes, TE, Raiders
Akeem Hunt, RB, Giants
Raheem Mostert, RB, Eagles
Justin Sinz, TE, Colts

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Kaleb Johnson, OL, Ravens
Kevin Snyder, LB, Lions
Andrew Turzilli, WR, Titans

Wisconsin Badgers

Warren Herring, DL, Falcons

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 12 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Oklahoma (10-1)

Still the team with the best resume in the country, no one can compete with OU’s wins over TCU, Ohio State and Oklahoma State, the latter two coming away from Norman. Baker Mayfield might not be a choir boy, but he’s the best player in the nation.

2. Miami (10-0)

You might think that being down 28-14 to Virginia in the second half was cringe-worthy, but the Canes made up for things by storming back with 30 unanswered points. Now they finally have to go away from South Florida for the first time since almost losing to North Carolina last month.

3. Alabama (11-0)

Tide gonna roll. But this Cupcake Weekend in the SEC has got to stop. While teams in other conferences are slugging it out against rivals, Bama gets to take a day off against Mercer? It’s just not fair. Also, Bama’s schedule is so soft, there’s no way it deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country.

4. Georgia (10-1)

The Dawgs should wrap an 11-1 regular season this weekend against Georgia Tech. But the SEC title game presents a kind of no-win scenario: undefeated Alabama or Auburn, who throttled Georgia earlier this month.

5. Wisconsin (11-0)

You didn’t need Wisconsin to do what it did to Iowa and Michigan to prove it had one of the best defenses in the country — but that sure didn’t help. Stockpiling national love with those two wins, a win in the Big Ten title game figures to make the Badgers a Playoff lock.

6. Clemson (10-1)

Why’d Kelly Bryant have to go and get hurt for that Syracuse game? The Tigers would be No. 1 and the undisputed best team in the country. Still, though, a win over Miami in the ACC title game ought to get the champs back into the Playoff.

7. Auburn (9-2)

Great job pounding Louisiana-Monroe, Tigers. You shall not escape the wrath over Cupcake Weekend in the SEC. That dumb game aside, Auburn and Alabama will meet in a titanic Iron Bowl this weekend with a trip to the SEC title game on the line — and perhaps a Playoff spot, as well.

8. Ohio State (9-2)

Not that pummeling Illinois is any big deal, but the Buckeyes are still alive in this thing and look like a team capable of making some Playoff noise. First, Ohio State has to win The Game and then the Big Ten title game to knock out undefeated Wisconsin.

9. Notre Dame (9-2)

Out of the Playoff chase thanks to that loss at Miami, Notre Dame squeaked by Navy this past weekend. Hope a New Year’s Six bowl game is enough for the Irish. We know it’s not enough for those ND fans. So maybe join a conference? Just saying.

10. TCU (9-2)

The Frogs can still make their mark on the Playoff race, even if they can’t get in themselves. The Big 12 title game will almost surely be TCU’s attempt at revenge on Oklahoma. Unfortunately, if revenge does come, it will probably cannibalize the conference’s Playoff hopes, too.

11. Penn State (9-2)

Why Penn State gave up 44 points to Nebraska, I do not know. What I do know is that probably no one cared because Penn State is going to go down as the most inconsequential 10-2 team of all-time. Such a bummer considering the preseason expectations for both the team and Saquon Barkley.

12. USC (10-2)

Yeah, I guess there’s still a way for USC to make the Playoff, but it’s hard to imagine that madness unfolding, even in the oft-mad college football. The Trojans get the winner of the Apple Cup in the Pac-12 title game.

13. UCF (10-0)

Finally we get our much-anticipated UCF-USF showdown this weekend. Make it count, Knights. This is probably gonna be Scott Frost’s last regular-season game in Orlando.

14. Washington (9-2)

It’s hard to say who has the edge in the Apple Cup, but certainly the stakes are high, with the winner going off to play USC in the Pac-12 title game. Can either team make the Playoff? Well, probably not, no.

15. Washington State (9-2)

Is this it for Mike Leach on The Palouse? He could be a hot candidate this offseason and leave for perceived greener pastures. Winning the Apple Cup would go a long way toward making that happen.

16. Mississippi State (8-3)

A win in the Egg Bowl means a 9-3 regular season for the Bulldogs with their three losses coming against three top-10 teams.

17. Oklahoma State (8-3)

Poor Okie State has been so good all year and had two losses to the two best teams in its conference, and then it went and lost to K-State for some ridiculous reason. The Mullet deserved better in 2017.

18. Northwestern (8-3)

The Cats are the fourth-best team in the Big Ten, simple as that, with wins over Michigan State and Iowa and conference losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. As commendable an effort as you’ll find in a highly competitive league. Plus, Fitz’s team is on a six-game win streak that could end up extending to eight.

19. Stanford (8-3)

Already with a win over Washington, Stanford could close the regular season with two wins over top-10 teams in its final three games. Also Bryce Love is back in the groove after back-to-back 100-yard games.

20. Memphis (9-1)

The Tigers have lost just one game all season, to the best Group of Five team out there. Heck of a season by Memphis.

21. Michigan State (8-3)

A 17-7 win over Maryland couldn't have been the most exciting way for anyone to spend their weekend. Sparty's had a mighty fine season, though, considering how badly things went in 2016.

22. LSU (8-3)

The SEC has seemingly gotten increasingly better as the year has progressed, with LSU and Mississippi State making for a solid-enough middle tier. But remember when LSU lost to Troy? That wasn’t good.

23. South Florida (9-1)

If not for that loss to Houston, USF’s showdown with UCF this weekend would be for Group of Five supremacy. Even without that, though, this should be a highly entertaining affair.

24. Virginia Tech (8-3)

The Hokies have a chance to salvage their tumble at the close of the season with a win at Virginia. But given how well the Cavs played at Miami this past weekend, a VT win is no sure thing.

25. Iowa State (7-4)

I understand the math and all, but can't the Big 12 just suspend its rules and send Iowa State to the title game? We all want to see the OU-ISU rematch. Why are you preventing us from being happy, Big 12?