Over the next few weeks, a panel of Scout.com Big Ten reporters will be breaking down the conference position-by-position.
Today we look at the tight ends, where there was a clear cut leader, earning all 10 first-place votes by the panel.
The reporters were asked to rank the top five at the position, with five points going to the No. 1 spot, four to No. 2, three to No. 3, and so on...
1.) Jake Butt, Michigan – 50 points (10) first-place votes
A three-year letter winner, Butt was a second-team All-American by the Associated Press in 2015, after catching 51 balls for 654 yards and three touchdowns. After electing to not turn pro and return for his senior season, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh feels Butt can be the best tight end in the country. The reigning Big Ten Tight End of the year focused on improving as a blocker during the spring. Over the course of his career Butt has 92 catches for 1,100 yards and sevent touchdowns.
2.) Josiah Price, Michigan State – 36 points
A senior, Price’s numbers slightly dropped in 2015. The former Indiana prep recorded 23 receptions for 267 yards and six touchdowns. His play earned him third-team All-Big Ten honors by the coaches and the media. Price was named by the Michigan States as an unsung hero in the Spartans win against No. 2 Ohio State.
3.) Cethan Carter , Nebraska – 21 pointsJosh Harvey / Scout.com
Earning Nebraska’s Most Improved Player award in 2015, Carter caught 24 balls for 329 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Carter also had a 32-yard touchdown run on a reverse against Rutgers. Down the stretch the junior had 10 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the final three games. Carter was awarded honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors.
4.) Brandon Lingen, Minnesota – 17 points
A go-to target for quarterback Mitch Leidner last season, Lingen started ten times in 2015, snagging 33 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns. GopherDigest.com wouldn’t be surprised if Lingen led Minnesota in targets in 2016. He has already caught of the eye of NFL scouts, despite just entering his junior season. Lingen has over 100 yards against both Iowa and Michigan last season.
5.) George Kittle, Iowa – 14 points
A senior, Kittle has put on nearly 50-pounds since setting foot in Iowa City. The former Oklahoma prep recorded 20 receptions for 290 yards last season, becoming a big target around the zone for the 12-2 Hawks. Kittle had six total touchdowns. Last season Kittle only had six starts, but figures to be Iowa’s full-time tight end in 2016.
OTHER RECEIVING VOTES:
Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin - He caught 28 balls for a little over 300 yards as a sophomore in 2015.
Mike Gesicki, Penn State - After limited production in 2015, Gesickt is expected to be a bigger part of the Nittany Lions offense this fall.
Marcus Baugh, Ohio State - The former four-star product had a solid spring and is expected to fill the shoes of drafted Nick Vannett.