The 10 best Big Ten football players the Iowa Hawkeyes will see in 2022

·6 min read

The Big Ten is one of the premier football conferences in the FBS. Big Ten teams are typically scattered throughout the top 25 rankings, and a lot of players are drafted out of the conference.

There’s a big team-first style of mentality that is attached to the conference, team’s playing football the “right way,” but that absolutely does not mean there aren’t superstars to be found. Even with rosters held to a high standard, there are still those few players that stand out and today we are going to rank them.

Here are the 10 best individual players Iowa Hawkeyes fans will see against their beloved squad in 2022.

Mo Ibrahim: Minnesota running back

Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Career stats: 547 attempts, 3,003 rushing yards,  5.5 yards per carry, and 33 touchdowns

Mo Ibrahim has been a Big Ten staple over the past four seasons, playing a significant role in the Golden Gophers’ offense. He looked to have his best year yet in 2021 before an injury derailed his senior season. Ibrahim will be one to watch out in a pivotal late-season clash at Minnesota.

Denzel Burke: Ohio State cornerback

Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Freshman stats: 35 total tackles, one interception, and 12 pass breakups

The first of many Ohio State Buckeyes on the list, Denzel Burke looks to be the next great Ohio State cornerback. A breakout freshman, Burke posted great coverage grades and got his hands on a ton of passes. Look for Burke to become a household name as a sophomore in 2022.

Aidan O'Connell: Purdue quarterback

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Career stats: 506-for-740, 5,729 passing yards, 43 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions

Once Aidan O’Connell took over the starting job last year, there was a change in Purdue. The Boilermakers boasted one of the best passing attacks in the nation, and knocked off Big Ten giants Iowa and Michigan State. Coming in as the unquestioned starter, look for AOC to finish his career in West Lafayette, Ind. with a bang!

Nick Herbig: Wisconsin outside linebacker

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Career stats: 87 total tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks

Wisconsin’s defense was fantastic last year. Like, better than you think. The Badgers only allowed 16.2 points per game and allowed only 4.17 yards per play. That was only .01 behind Georgia‘s historic unit. They also allowed the least amount of yards allowed both total (3,108) and per game (239). Outside linebacker and pass rusher Nick Herbig was a breakout star in his sophomore year with 14.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Blake Corum: Michigan running back

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Career stats: 170 attempts, 1,026 rushing yards, six yards per carry, and 14 total touchdowns

With Hassan Haskins off to the NFL, junior running back Blake Corum steps into the lead role. As Michigan’s second punch, Corum nearly hit 1,000 rushing yards and reached the end zone 12 total times. Watch for Michigan‘s rushing attack led by Corum, with assistance from sophomore Donovan Edwards, to be one of the best in football.

Peter Skoronski: Northwestern offensive tackle

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The only offensive lineman on the list, Skoronski is one of the best returning lineman in both the conference and the NCAA. Starting early as a freshman, Skoronski showed early on his ability to handle his own and Northwestern’s left tackle play didn’t falter without first-round pick and NFL second-team All-Pro Rashawn Slater. His future may be in the NFL, but for now teams need to send extra men to the Wildcats’ left side if they hope to stop the Skoronski-led rushing attack.

Braelon Allen: Wisconsin running back

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman stats: 186 attempts, 1,268 rushing yards, 6.8 yards per carry, and 12 touchdowns

Too big. Too fast. Too strong. That is the best way to describe sophomore running back Braelon Allen’s game. Looking like the next Derrick Henry, Allen was a breakout superstar as a freshman despite splitting work with Chez Mellusi. While Mellusi will receive his share, there’s no denying Allen’s talent. He will be the next in the Badgers’ long line of great college running backs.

TreVeyon Henderson: Ohio State running back

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman stats: 183 Yards, 1,248 rushing yards, 6.8 yards per carry, and 15 touchdowns

What TreVeyon Henderson managed to do last year as a true freshman was nothing short of incredible. It wasn’t just the raw physical talent on display for him as it was for Allen. While Henderson has physical ability to spare, his burst is incredible, his vision is next level. He was doing advanced stuff right out of the gate. He’s as complete a back as you’ll find and will be a massive thorn in the side of opponents for the next two years.

Jaxson Smith-Njigba: Ohio State wide receiver

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Career stats: 105 receptions, 1,655 rushing yards, 15.58 yards per catch, and 10 touchdowns

Last year on a team with two wide receivers selected in the top 15 of the 2022 NFL draft, Jaxon Smith-Njigba outperformed both of them. As a true sophomore. That is scary. Arguably the best receiver in the nation, Smith-Njigba will lead one of the best aerial attacks in the nation as C.J. Stroud’s No. 1 option. Don’t be surprised when Smith-Njigba is also a top-15 pick.

C.J. Stroud: Ohio State quarterback

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Career Stats: 314-for-441, 4,435 passing yards, 44 touchdowns, six interceptions

It is scary to think what C.J. Stroud is going to do in his junior year. With how great his sophomore stats were, it is important to note that he did struggle a bit in the very early stages of the season. Once he found his footing, it was lights out then.

He’s entering this season with a year of experience under his belt, with his footing found, and with one of the best rosters in the nation. This entire list was almost made up of his teammates. Even if it comes to the detriment of Iowa’s final record, make sure to enjoy what Stroud will do this season. It’s going to be special.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire