football Edit

Three-Point Stance: Big Ten weight room; top returning LBs; commits National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is measuring the strength of the teams in the Big Ten on and off the field, continues his list of top returning players with the linebackers and comments on some big recent commitments.

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CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

1. Time to head into the weight room and check out the Big Ten.

Ohio State WR Chris Olave.
Ohio State WR Chris Olave. (AP)

Let’s continue my weight room-like assessment of conferences with a look at the Big Ten.


Ohio State — This is a no brainer as Urban Meyer has smoothly passed the torch to Ryan Day. The Buckeyes are easily the power of the Big Ten.

Wisconsin — The Badgers aren’t on the same level as Ohio State but they have been more than steady with five double-digit win seasons in the past six years and six Big Ten West titles in nine years.


MichiganJim Harbaugh's 47 wins in five years is a nine-win improvement over the previous five seasons, but he hasn't put together a breakthrough season.

Penn State — The Nittany Lions have won the Big Ten, so why aren’t they at the top? They’ve been inconsistent at times and belong in this category until they can break through and win the East consistently.

Michigan State — Despite a 3-9 season in 2016, the Spartans have been steady and should remain so under Mel Tucker.

Iowa — Iowa is the definition of steady right? They are always winning just never enough to take that next step.


Minnesota — Under PJ Fleck, the Gophers have been very impressive and already have a division title. They are a team to watch in the conference.

Indiana — The Hoosiers have been improving and continue to be a very tough team to beat for almost everyone.

Illinois — Who would have thought, right? Lovie Smith has this program on the right track, moving the wins from two to four to six the past three years.


Nebraska — The Huskers are recruiting well and I believe in Scott Frost, but they have a ways to go before they reach another level.

Northwestern — Prior to this past season the Wildcats probably would have been near steady but there are many questions now after a 3-9 season.

Purdue — Purdue was on the right track but last year was a disaster and bouncing back will be tough.


Rutgers — Not much aside from the record (9-39 last four years) needs to be pointed out here.

Maryland — The Terps have had much changover since joining the league and it’s been a disaster overall.

2. The nation's 10 best returning linebackers.

Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons (AP)

I continue my look at the top returning players in college football with the linebackers, a very good group loaded with some names you might recognize.

Micah Parsons, Penn State — Parsons is an athletic freak and to me far and away the biggest difference maker at the position.

Dylan Moses, Alabama — Moses should be back with a vengeance this season after injury last year and he’s a sideline to sideline dominator.

Paddy Fisher, Northwestern — Is there a smarter linebacker with better anticipation than Fisher?

Hamilcar Rashed, Oregon State — Never heard of him? Watch him just once and you’ll be sold.

Colin Schooler, Arizona — Schooler doesn’t do anything great but he does everything well and is so steady.

Rayshard Ashby, Virginia Tech — This guy is all over the field and is a thumper.

KJ Britt, Auburn — Britt may not be the tallest linebacker but he can cover with the best of them and he makes a ton of plays.

Joseph Ossai, Texas — The Big 12 doesn’t get much credit for defense but this guy makes a big difference for the Longhorns.

Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State — I love the way Simmons plays as he’s so fluid and rarely takes a false step.

Garret Wallow, TCU — Another guy you might not have heard of but this kid is a baller. Watch him.

3. There are some important 2021 commitments rolling in.

It’s March and the 2021 commitments are starting to come in. Here are a few recent ones that are important and why...

OL Eli Sutton, North Carolina — This was a surprise to many and a very athletic lineman who will also be a leader when he gets on the team.

OL Connor Tollison, Missouri — A very good athlete, Tollison also plays defensive end and could be one of those sleepers that Mizzou produces.

DT Isaac Washington, Tennessee — Washington plays a position of need for the Vols and can shoot the gap and chase the passer at times while being strong against the run.

WR Kobe Paysour, UNC — More weapons for Sam Howell as Paysour has good hands and is very steady.

TE Nick Elksnis, Florida — The former Penn State commitment is athletic and will keep the Florida tight end tradition going.

OT Wyatt Milum, West Virginia — This was a massive commitment for the Mountaineers as he’s an in state kid who could be a franchise left tackle.

QB Drake Maye, UNC — Maye is a huge flip for UNC from Alabama and will follow Howell if he continues to develop.