Hard to believe we are entering the home stretch of the shortened Big Ten season. After taking a look at the Big Ten West’s Emerging Prospects, now we will to take a look at the other division. Listed here is an emerging NFL Big 10 prospects from each team in the Big Ten East.
Ohio State: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Junior
Chris Olave has truly blossomed into not only an emerging Big Ten prospect, but an overall emerging wide receiver prospect with his play this season. Coming off of a third-team All-Big Ten selection last season, he has gotten even better this year. He is currently leading the team in receptions as he and Garrett Wilson have become perhaps the best receiving duo in the country. His route running and speed have proven to be a problem for opposing corners as he averaged 14.7 yards per catch on 36 receptions this season.
Watching tape on Olave, he consistently wins against 1-on-1 coverage. Although it always helps having a potential top-5 draft pick at quarterback, Olave’s talents can easily transfer to most if not all offenses in the NFL. The cherry on top for Chris Olave, is his special teams impact he provides. Last season, he had a blocked punt and a recovered onside kick. That kind of versatility will always do nothing but boost his draft stock.
Indiana: Ty Fryfogle, Wide Receiver, Senior
Ty Fryfogle was a member of the 2017 recruiting class for Indiana. A low-three star prospect from Mississippi took his talents to Bloomington and has perhaps become the highest emerging Big Ten Prospect this season. He is currently fourth in the conference in 20.2 yards per catch, but has at least 14 more receptions than those with higher marks. He is also in a tie for second for receiving touchdowns in the conference.
Fryfogle could be considered the biggest playmaker in the Big Ten at the moment. It is unfortunate that their rising star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is out for the rest of the year. As long as the next man up can get the ball near Fryfogle, Fryfogle can go get it. His combination of speed, route running, and acrobatic catch ability is right up there with other NFL receiving prospects. His breakout game against a stingy Ohio State secondary is a prime example of what he bring to a NFL offense when he gets selected.
Penn State: Jayson Oweh, Defensive End, Redshirt Sophomore
In what has been a lackluster year to this point for Penn State standards, Jayson Oweh has been the knight in shining armor for this Nittany Lion team. At the Defensive End position, he is fourth on the team in tackles and leads them in tackles for loss. He led the team in pressures against Indiana in the opening week of the season with 9. He also is one of the most athletic players in this draft class, and certainly amongst other emerging Big Ten NFL prospects. If he can continue this kind of production and have a great combine, I would not be surprised if he can sneak into becoming a first-round selection.
Maryland: Jake Funk, RB Redshirt Senior
Jake Funk could be one of the more inspiring stories of the emerging Big Ten NFL prospects. Funk hails from Damascus, Maryland and was best known for his 7 touchdown performance in his high school’s state championship game. Even with that performance, he still only had one Power-5 offer, that coming from Maryland. Coming off of not one but two ACL injuries, he has been essential in this COVID-19 riddled season for the Terrapins.
Through three games he has 331 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. He is second in the conference in rush yards per game and first by a yard and a half in yards per carry at 7.8. Funk shows great balance and power running between the tackles. He has the ability to catch it out of the backfield as well. Funk’s impact is also felt on special teams as well. He has the chance to sneak into the late rounds and has proven to have the drive and determination to stick at the next level.
Rutgers: Olakunle Fatukasi, Linebacker, Senior
Olakunle Fatukasi has been the highest emerging Big Ten prospect on the defensive side of the ball. His play this season has took him from very little buzz in the preseason to a current semifinalist for the Butkus award. Fatukasi has 109 tackles already this season, which is 54 more than any other player in the conference. He is averaging over 13 tackles per game at this point and had an 18 tackle performance against Penn State last week. His speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability gives him the potential to be day one starter or contributor at the next level.
Michigan: Hassan Haskins, RB, Junior
Hassan Haskins was a three-star prospect from St. Louis when he enrolled at Michigan. Last season, throughout the beginning of the season was the Zach Charbonnet show in the Wolverine backfield. That tide started to change started to change after a 125-yard performance against the Fighting Illini. He followed up that performance with a 150-yard showing against Notre Dame.
His level of play allowed him to be the feature back for Michigan this season. As the team has been a bit disappointing this season, Haskins certainly has not. Jake Funk, who we mentioned above is leading the Big Ten in yards per carry, Haskins is third by only .2 yards. He is also fourth in the conference with 6 rushing touchdowns. He runs with great physicality and strength, while also shows great vision when picking holes. With a big performance this upcoming week against Ohio State, Haskins could generate some more buzz going into draft season if he chooses to go early. He truly is an emerging NFL Big Ten prospect.
Michigan State: Antjuan Simmons, Linebacker, Senior
It has been a tumultuous season for the Michigan State Spartans thus far. Although their offense is one of the worst with the entire NCAA, Simmons has been a leader for this defense this season. Simmons is second in the conference in tackles and is currently leading his team in tackles for loss with 8.5. He truly excels playing against the run and is a very sound tackler. As long as his play continues to rise this season, he can be a name that climbs up some draft boards in the spring.