All-Big Ten football team preseason 2024 predictions as league expands (2024)

Which players are the best of the best in the new-look Big Ten?

Cody Nagel

Anticipation builds ahead of the Big Ten Media Days later thisJuly in Indianapolis as the expanded conference welcomes its new West Coast members. The All-Big Ten preseason team will soon be releasedwith players from top contenders Michigan, Ohio State and Oregon expected to litter the roster of superstars.

Transfer portal additions played a huge part in the bolstering of rosters throughout the Big Ten, along with elite signing classes with some true freshmen expected to make an immediate impact. The conference is a bit top-heavy with the national championship contenders garnering much of the attention as kickoff for the 2024 season approaches. Still, the other members of the new 18-team league should see a fair representation on both the preseason and postseason All-Big Ten lists.

While the SEC might be the most-talented conference overall, the Big Ten is not far behind as it welcomes Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington to the mix.

RELATED:Ohio State, Michigan boast top Big Ten 2024 player of the year award candidates

Belowthe projected playersto lead the league's all-conference teams in 2024.

Quarterbacks

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First Team

Dillon Gabriel, Sr., Oregon

Second Team

Will Howard, Sr., Ohio State

The Big Ten is full of new quarterbacks in 2024. Two veterans take over at Ohio State and Oregon, which could lead the FBS in scoring offense this season. Dillon Gabriel enters his sixthyear of college footballand first as the Ducks' starter. He has four seasons with at least 3,000 yards passing, totaling 125 touchdown passes with another 26 scores on the ground. He is without question the most-proven passer in the Big Ten and should thrive in the Oregon offense. Meanwhile, there is a lot of pressure on Will Howard to provide a much-needed spark to the Buckeyes' offense. The dual-threat quarterback earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors during his final season at Kansas State despite throwing for less than 2,200 yards.

Running Backs

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First Team

Quinshon Judkins, Jr., Ohio State

Kyle Monangai, Sr., Rutgers

Second Team

Donovan Edwards, Sr.,Michigan

TreVeyon Henderson, Sr., Ohio State

Ohio State may have one of the best backfields in college football this season, but do not forget who led the Big Ten in rushing yards a year ago — Kyle Monangai from Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights' star is back aiming to build on his breakout 2023 campaign in which he rushed for 1,262 yards and eight touchdowns. TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins are a scary duo for the Buckeyes as they shift toward a more power run offense. Will Donovan Edwards establish himself as one of the top running backs in the country now that he is the feature back at Michigan?

Wide Receivers

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First Team

Emeka Egbuka, Sr., Ohio State

Tez Johnson, Sr., Oregon

Second Team

Tai Felton, Sr., Maryland

Evan Stewart, Jr., Oregon

Much of the attention on the Ohio State receiver room this offseason has been on five-star freshman Jeremiah Smith, but former No. 1 ranked wideoutEmeka Egbuka is primed for a big year now that he is WR1 in Columbus. Oregon went to the transfer portal to replace its leading receiver from last season, adding former Texas A&M standout Evan Stewart to pair alongside Tez Johnson. Maryland needs to figure out its quarterback situation, but Tai Feltonis back as one of the top returning Big Ten wideouts after hauling in 723 yards last year.

Tight Ends

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First Team

Colston Loveland, Jr., Michigan

Second Team

Luke Lachey, Sr., Iowa

Colston Loveland is arguably the best tight end in the nation. The Michigan standout projects to be a key figure in the Wolverines offense as the top returning pass-catcher from the reigning national champions. Luke Lachey has a chance to push for All-America status if he can remain healthy. The Iowa tight end missed nearly all of last season due to injury, but has 662 yards on 46 career receptions with four total touchdowns.

Offensive Line

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First Team

Ajani Cornelius, Sr., Oregon

Aireontae Ersery, Sr., Minnesota

Donovan Jackson, Sr., Ohio State

Logan Jones, Sr., Iowa

Josh Priebe, Sr., Michigan

Second Team

Connor Colby, Sr., Iowa

Josh Conerly Jr., Jr., Oregon

J.C. Davis, Sr., Illinois

Jonah Monheim, Sr., USC

Sal Wormley, Sr., Penn State

The Big Ten is known for having some of the best offensive lines in college football and that is no different in 2024. Conference newcomer Oregon features a veteran group anchored by Josh Conerly Jr. and Ajani Cornelius. And so is Ohio State as it looks to continue its improvements into this season. Aireontae Ersery started each of the past 26 games for Minnesota at left tackle and could be a 2025 NFL Draft pick next spring. Michigan has a revamped offensive line, but returns starting left guard Josh Priebe.

Defensive Line

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First Team

Abdul Carter, Jr., Penn State

Mason Graham, Jr., Michigan

J.T. Tuimoloau, Sr., Ohio State

Tyleik Williams, Sr., Ohio State

Second Team

Jordan Burch, Sr., Oregon

Kenneth Grant, Jr., Michigan

Nash Hutmacher, Jr., Nebraska

Jack Sawyer, Sr., Ohio State

The new-look Big Ten is loaded with fierce defensive linemen — both off the edge and in the interior. Ohio State should have the best overall defensive line in the country with a stacked group of returning veterans. Michigan should not see much of a drop off with big men Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant back in the middle. Abdul Carter moved down from linebacker to edge rusher for Penn State — a decision that was mutual between he and the coaches.

Linebackers

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First Team

Jeffrey Bassa, Jr., Oregon

Jay Higgins, Sr., Iowa

Nick Jackson, Sr., Iowa

Xander Mueller, Sr., Northwestern

Second Team

Cal Haladay, Sr., Michigan State

Ruben Hyppolite, Sr., Maryland

Cody Lindenberg, Sr., Minnesota

Mohamed Toure, Sr., Rutgers

The leading tackler in the FBS last season is back as Jay Higgins returns for a fifth season as part of an impressive Iowa duo alongside Nick Jackson. Xander Mueller should see even more opportunities to wrack up tackles after making 110 stops last season. The Northwestern veteran is one of only 35 players in the FBS to reach that mark a year ago. Jeffrey Bassa was a leader for one of the most improved defenses in the nation at Oregon and has a physical style that should translate well to the Big Ten.

Defensive Backs

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First Team

Denzel Burke, Sr., Ohio State

Caleb Downs, So., Ohio State

Will Johnson, Jr., Michigan

Dillon Thieneman, So., Purdue

Second Team

Sebastian Castro, Sr., Iowa

Ricardo Hallman, Jr., Wisconsin

Jabbar Muhammad, Sr., Oregon

Hunter Wohler,Sr., Wisconsin

This Big Ten position group might be the hardest to predict in 2024 because of the depth across the board. Ohio State made a massive upgrade to its secondary by landing SEC Freshman of the Year Caleb Downs as a transfer from Alabama. Dillon Thieneman had a breakout2023 campaign for Purdue, earning 247Sports True Freshman of the Year honors with six interceptions. Will Johnson must take over an increased leadership role for Michigan with Rod Moore out indefinitely with an injury suffered this spring. Each of the defensive backs on the second-team predictions — and plenty more not listed — possess the capabilities to earn first-team honors.

Specialists

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All-Purpose: Zachariah Branch, So., USC

Place Kicker: Dragon Kesich, Sr., Minnesota

Punter: Ryan Eckley, So., Michigan State

Zachariah Branch is among the most electrifying players in college football, earning several All-American honors as a return specialist last season at USC. He averaged18.4 yards per kickoff return, taking one back for a touchdown, while also averaging 30.8yards per punt return with another score. The reigningAll-Big Ten First Team kicker is back in 2024.Dragon Kesich hit 3 of 4 from 50-plus yards for Minnesota last season.Ryan Eckley earned All-Big Ten second team with an average of 46.83 yards per punt — eighth best nationally.

Players of the Year

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The race for Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year should be relatively open in 2024 with a mix of impact transfers and established veterans in the expanded conference. Dillon Gabriel likely has the best chance given the numbers he could put up in the Oregon offense, but Ohio State has plenty of candidates that could emerge as the top star of the Buckeyes. Defensively, Mason Graham might have the greatest impact for a Michigan defense looking to prove it is still superior with new coordinator Wink Martindale taking over. Iowa is not changing its identity as a defensive power in the Big Ten and boasts several players worthy of recognition as the best in the conference by season's end.

All-Big Ten football team preseason 2024 predictions as league expands (2024)
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