I am live at the Big Ten kickoff luncheon in Chicago today, so feel free to follow along on Twitter via @HammerAndRails. I'll try to post on the actual site sometime in the afternoon too. The links at the bottom wrap up day 1.
Today's player is one of the few I have met in person. After last season's Michigan State game we were shopping in the Gold and Black Mine on Northwestern Avenue and Albert Evans walked in with his family. He was a pretty nice guy, and reminded me of the difference between my workout routine and a Big Ten football program's routine.
Albert Evans -
Hometown: Gary, IN (Portage HS)
6', 206 pounds
2010 Projection: Starter at safety
Albert returns as our post experienced member of the secondary, which doesn't say much. One of his biggest moment of last year was holding up the P in the middle of the field as everyone celebrated the huge win over Ohio State. In terms of statistics, he was a good special teams player and nickel back. He made 30 tackles in all 12 games last year and was the top special teams performer against Indiana. Because of our lack of depth at the position he has been named a default starter at safety. Logan Link, Ishmael Aristide, Ricardo Allen, E.J. Johnson, Gavin Roberts and Chris Quinn may play back there with him.
Evans was originally a linebacker in 2008, playing in 11 games and notching two tackles as a true freshman. This was after he was a running back at Portage High. He had a monster junior year of 1,603 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns before a knee injury cost him part of his senior year. I like him at safety because he was also a basketball player, so he knows how to go after the ball in the air.
Albert's high school coach has been known to send players our way recently. We are getting Ryan Isaac from Michigan City this year, while Craig Buzea has moved to Homewood-Flossmoor and will coach 2011 commit Michael Rouse III.
I am excited to see Albert play after he was named as a workout warrior by ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. We desperately need players to become answers in the secondary. Albert seems to be in position to be an answer.
Delany talks title game; no name change - College Football Nation Blog - ESPN
Perhaps the biggest (only?) news to come out of Day 1 was the announcement there would be a Big Ten title game.
Video: Purdue QB Robert Marve - Big Ten Blog - ESPN
Adam Rittenberg talks with Purdue quarterback Robert Marve.
Blogger debate: Big Ten vs. Notre Dame - Big Ten Blog - ESPN
ESPN predicts that ND will go 2-1 vs. the Big Ten. I think they'll be lucky to go 1-2.