Ranking the Big Ten: Center
As the 2019 season draws nearer by the day, it’s time to start taking a look at some of the top players to watch in the Big Ten Conference.
We continue our annual Ranking the Big Ten series today with the centers, a talented group that will anchor some of the best offensive lines in college football this season.
1. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
Wisconsin may have lost four of its primary starters on the offensive line from last season, but it returns arguably the best center in the country in Biadasz.
A consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection and honorable mention All-American last year, Biadasz was rated as the nation's highest-graded center in 2018 by Pro Football Focus (88.7).
He's started every game of his career at UW (27 in a row) and now he'll be the veteran leader of a revamped Badger front that hopes to once again reload as one of the Big Ten's best.
2. Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
After moving from right guard prior to his sophomore season in 2018, Ruiz instantly asserted himself as a fixture at center for Michigan.
He started all 13 games last year and was a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the league's coaches.
The junior is expected to get even better this season, as he's already projected by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. as the No. 3 underclassmen center in the 2020 draft field.
3. Michal Menet, Penn State
Menet saw limited action as a redshirt freshman, primarily on special teams, but his role took a major jump when he won the starting center job as a sophomore in 2018.
The Birdsboro, Penn., native started all 12 games for Penn State last season, and now the expectation is for him to take an even bigger step as a junior.
A former four-star recruit who was rated the No. 5 guard in the 2016 class, Menet has the potential for a breakout campaign in his second year as a starter.
4. Mike Maietti, Rutgers
Maietti took over as Rutgers' top center as a redshirt freshman, starting nine games in 2017 and earning honorable mention Freshman All-Big Ten recognition.
He held onto that role throughout his sophomore campaign last season, starting all 12 games and helping the Scarlett Knights rank second in the conference and 19th nationally with only 1.33 sacks permitted per game.
Now entering essentially his third year as a starter, Miaetti will be the leader of RU's offensive front both on and off the field.
5. Matt Allen, Michigan State
Allen followed the footsteps of his two older brothers, former All-American Jack Allen and NFL draft pick Brian Allen, by earning a starting spot on Michigan State's offensive line last season.
An injury forced him to miss three games during the year, but he still made seven starts and played in 10 games.
A former four-star recruit who ranked as the No. 5 center in the 2014 class coming out of Hinsdale (Ill.) Central, Allen returns as the Spartans' man in the middle for his junior campaign and should only continue to develop the way his brothers did before him.