The men in the middle have a lot of prove this year, with a lot of new faces in the mix across the league. That said, we once again find that OSU probably holds the best hand, though perhaps not the high card. Let’s dive into this completely subjective and highly un-scientific ranking headfirst, or leap right to the comments and tell me I forgot your favorite 3-star RS Sophomore.
1) Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
Mo Hurst is a lightning quick 5th-year senior who gives guards and centers fits. While not the biggest tackle in the game by any stretch, he's extremely adept at getting into the backfield and making a proper mess of things. To wit, he racked up 20 solo tackles and 33 tackles total last season, with 11.5 of those occurring behind scrimmage. He also registered his first career sack against FSU in the crushing bowl loss.
2) Michael Hill (Ohio State)
Another 5th-year senior who looks to make waves in the middle this year. Hill was honorable mention all-B1G last year on the back of 19 total tackles and 3.0 TFLs. In a line stacked with talent, he stands a good chance to have a top-notch season and cement his draft stock.
3) Kevin Givens (Penn State)
Finally some youth in the inside game! Givens is a superbly athletic RS sophomore with 4.5 sacks to his name after a strong start in 2016. He’ll look to build on his first year as Penn State looks to defend their B1G Title, and he’s certainly a name you’ll hear on Saturdays (probably from Beth Mowins).
4) Tracy Sprinkle (Ohio State)
Sidelined by a knee injury early in the 2016 campaign, Sprinkle looks to bounce back in the midst of a ton of young talent and deep line rotations at OSU. Great things have long been expected of the 6’3”, 300-lbs hole-plugger, and Buckeye fans will be champing at the bit to see him live up to the positive billing he’s gotten from the coaching staff.
Honorable Mention: Joe Spivak
Based on excellence in chins alone.
Possible Breakout Stars:
Tyler Lancaster (Northwestern)
Raequan Williams (MSU)
Cedric Lattimore (Iowa S&C)