My kind of conference: Big Ten's impact Chicago natives

My kind of conference: Big Ten's impact Chicago natives
August 27, 2014, 11:00 am
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Vinnie Duber

Being the capital of Big Ten Country, Chicago produces many a Big Ten talent.

There are Chicago natives dotting the rosters of nearly every Big Ten team, but which ones are going to have the biggest impact in the conference this season?

Here's a look at some of the biggest names in the conference who came out of Chicago-area high schools.

Tevin Coleman, Indiana, RB, Oak Forest. One of three starting running backs in the conference from the Chicago area, Coleman could be one of the Big Ten's best ball carriers this season. He was extremely effective last year for the Hoosiers despite getting lost in the army of talented backs in the Big Ten.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten East preview: Spartans are beasts of the East]

Josh Ferguson, Illinois, RB, Joliet Catholic. No player might mean more to the Illini offense than Ferguson, who showed potential as a dependable offensive weapon last season. Now in a more featured role, he can make a huge impact both running the ball and catching passes as part of the Bill Cubit offense.

Mark Weisman, Iowa, RB, Stevenson. Iowa has several quality backs, but Weisman is at the top of the depth chart for a reason. He's a true workhorse, leading America in carries throughout the first part of last season. Rushing behind a big Hawkeyes offensive line, he should be in for another big year.

Jack Allen, Michigan State, C, Hinsdale Central. Michigan State has talent everywhere, and Allen might be the most talented on the offensive line. He'll need to create some running holes for the great Jeremy Langford if the Spartans want to repeat as conference champs.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten West preview: Badgers, Hawkeyes pace up-for-grabs division]

Corey Cooper, Nebraska, S, Proviso East. One of the better defensive backs in the conference, Cooper is anchoring the backside of what should be a better Nebraska defense this season. Though that unit had problems last year, and they lost three starters for the season during the summer.

Dan Vitale, Northwestern, SB, Wheaton Warrenville South. The Cats have been purged of offensive weapons with the transfer of Venric Mark and the injury to Christian Jones. It could all mean a heavier focus on the pass game and a heavier focus on Vitale catching passes from Trevor Siemian.

Dan Voltz, Wisconsin, C, Barrington. The lone underclassman starter on the Badgers offensive line, Voltz is a member of a unit that earns high praise and churns out NFL players on an annual basis. Wisconsin always has great backs, but their extraordinary numbers wouldn't be possible without these guys up front.

[MORE BIG TEN: After challenges of last year, Northwestern extra-ready for Cal]

Antoine Lewis, Purdue, CB, Proviso East. Lewis and the Purdue defense have quite a bit of improving to do this season after a 1-11 finish last year. But a more favorable early schedule should help the Boilermakers add some crookedness to their win total from 2013.

Evan Spencer, Ohio State, WR, Vernon Hills. One of three players listed as starting wideouts for the Buckeyes, it'll be up to Spencer & Co. to help the Ohio State offense along in the wake of the Braxton Miller injury. J.T. Barrett is inexperienced at QB, but he's not hurting for weapons, such as Spencer.

Graham Glasgow, Michigan, G, Marmion. Glasgow is suspended to start the season following offseason legal troubles, but he figures to play a big role upon his return. And the Wolverines could use it. The Michigan offensive line was a big problem last year and needs improvement if things are going to turn around.

[MORE BIG TEN: Badgers will be 'WR by committee,' not 'WR by Jared Abbrederis']

Louis Trinca-Pasat, Iowa, DT, Lane Tech. One of the Hawkeyes' captains, Trinca-Pasat is part of what be the best defensive-line duo in the conference alongside Carl Davis. These two should cause some real headaches for opposing offenses and be a key reason Iowa could have a terrific season.

Dean Lowry, Northwestern, DE, Boylan. Starting along the Northwestern defensive line, Lowry is a member of what should be a solid Wildcats defense. He has plenty of experience but will need to help fill the void left by the departed Tyler Scott, who was one of the Big Ten's best sack men over the past two years.

Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska, WR, Montini Catholic. You all remember the Wester-catch. Now it's time for Westerkamp to be a featured receiver in a passing attack led by quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. If the Huskers can balance the pass game with the rushing talents of Ameer Abdullah, watch out.