Big Ten FB: The Five on Five (5-12-11)

Topics include: Fitzgerald's extension, Penn State's LBs, and 2013 commitments.

Linebacker U poised for a big season

The Penn State Nittany Lions have sent some high quality linebackers to the NFL: Jack Ham, Dave Robinson, Lavar Arrington, and Paul Posluzny. And that's just to name a few. After a sub-par season in 2010 in terms of expectations, Penn State is hoping for a few stars to breakout in the linebackers' core.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg recently predicted that Michael Mauti, who compiled 67 tackles last season, has a legitimate shot at breaking the 100 tackle mark. Rittenberg even goes as far as to say that Mauti "has a chance to put up Posluszny/Connor tackle numbers."

Along with Mauti, Penn State will send out junior Gerald Hodges, who converted from safety a season ago. He appears to have locked down the starting outside linebacker position, and because of his tenacity and fiery play, Hodges will prove to be a force coming from the outside.

Nathan Stupar is another linebacker at Penn State that could challenge for 100 tackles, as well.


Michigan lands first 2013 recruit

The Michigan Wolverines received their first pledge for 2013: quarterback Shane Morris out of Warren De La Salle.

Because of the lack of coverage on Morris, it's hard to determine just how good a player he is, but according to a story on SB Nation Detroit, Morris is expected to "be ranked as one of the top pro-style quarterbacks for the 2013 class."

If the above statement is true, then Brady Hoke and Michigan may have just landed their replacement for Denard Robinson when he graduates or leaves for the NFL.


Iowa makes rare offer to freshman

The thought of making an offer to a high school freshman is mind-boggling to some, but apparently not to Kirk Ferentz. Iowa must have seen something in Brian Allen after they offered a scholarship to him earlier this week.

Judging a freshman, specifically in football, is no easy task because of the developmental process. But Allen is already big for his age. The offensive lineman weighs in at 250, stands at 6-foot-1, and there's a good chance he is not done growing yet.

Despite the offer, Allen is going to wait out the next three years before making any decisions on his future.


Indiana's Tandon Doss Improves Ravens' Weapons

Between Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, and fellow rookie Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss is expected to provide Baltimore with a lot of options.

He has size, speed and reliable hands, which is why quarterback Joe Flacco preached to the Ravens' front office to draft Doss.

"What he liked about him is that he caught the ball away from his body," said Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of player personnel.

Though, Indiana isn't expected to do much in the Big Ten this season, at least they'll be able to support Doss in what should be an exciting rookie campaign.


Northwestern extends Fitzgerald to 2020

At Northwestern, head coach Pat Fitzgerald has gone 33-29 with notable victories over Wisconsin and Iowa (twice) the past two seasons.

Apparently, that resume is good enough to land a contract extension that will pay Fitzgerald $1.8 million per year up until 2020.

Athletic Director Jim Phillips provided reasoning for the extension, claiming that the university needed to provide its identity and end rumors of Fitzgerald coaching elsewhere.

"We have the right guy. It's a great day," said Phillips.

- Josh Harvey -


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