Though the Big Ten’s North team lost to the Christian Ponder-led South team 24-10, several conference players still made names for themselves in the game and likely have improved their draft stock in the process.
The star of the game was the South’s quarterback Christian Ponder, out of FSU, who led two touchdown drives and was 7 for 13 overall with 132 yards, even in the limited duty of an all-star game.
The North fell behind quickly in this game, down 17-0. Led early by Washington quarterback Jack Locker, the team seemed to have an inability to sustain drives. Though Locker made some good passes, he completed only six passes total and nearly lost two fumbles. This performance might affect his own draft position, especially considering the rather dismal season that he turned in during 2010-2011.
Fortunately, the North team had Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick to turn to. The Nevada QB led the North on their first scoring drive of the game in the second half, resulting in a field goal. After a timely pass interference call, the North added on a touchdown on the back of Maryland running back Da’Rel Scott.
Though that was all the scoring the North would muster, Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi put together a few impressive drives, which included passes to rival Big Ten player Lance Kendricks, a tight end out of Wisconsin. Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher also caught several passes and showed consistency that had to impress the scouts in attendance. On the defensive end of the ball, Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan had a great game, including a sack and several big tackles. He made a bit of a splash in this game, and though he was already predicted to be drafted high, this may have helped cement that.
Though it might have been a disappointing game overall for fans of teams north of the Mason-Dixon line, it was still a good game for several Big Ten players, which is also good for the conference as a whole. The more highly drafted players the conference produces, the easier it will be to recruit talented high school students to our schools.
On the Up:
Ricky Stanzi, quarterback, Iowa, showed great accuracy and had one very productive drive in the game that included several difficult throws.
Lance Kendricks, tight end, Wisconsin, caught a few difficult passes and showed why Wisconsin produces some of the best tight ends in the college game.
Dane Sanzenbacher, wide receiver, Ohio State, while he didn’t have a flashy day, he did come to play and should still be drafted in a good position.
Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end, Purdue, had a big sack and several nice tackles which should only cement his mid-first-round predicted draft position.
Greg Jones, linebacker, Michigan State, had some difficulty making open field tackles in the game. This might worry scouts in attendance. He’ll still get drafted, but his stock likely suffered a bit over this weekend.
Gabe Carimi, offensive tackle, Wisconsin, sat out the game with an ankle injury. He’s been limited in practices during the week also because of the injury. Though he’ll be healthy for the draft an will still be drafted well, he’s inability to play and make an impact in the game might cause him to drop a little bit.