The 2022 college football season is officially three weeks old and has already brought a ton of excitement to fans across the country. Transfers are now a big part of college football, and today we take a look at five newcomers that have made early-season impacts in the Big Ten Conference.
Connor Bazelak, Indiana
So far, the Missouri transfer has guided Indiana to a 3-0 start to the season. On the season, Bazelak has tallied 891 yards passing to go along with five touchdowns against two interceptions with a completion percentage of 56.6%.
Bazelak’s best performance came in the Hoosiers’ season-opening 23-20 win over Illinois in which he guided Indiana down the field 75 yards with just over 2 minutes remaining and no timeouts, setting up the game-winning score from Shaun Shivers from 1-yard out. The Dayton, Ohio, native was 7-of-10 for 70 yards on the game-winning drive.
The Hoosiers have a big out-of-conference game at Cincinnati on Saturday. It’s another chance for Bazelak to show that he’s a capable Power Five signal-caller.
Charlie Jones, Purdue
Through the first three games, Jones has hauled in 32 catches for 474 yards and five scores. He is averaging 158 yards per game and has exceeded double-digit receptions against Penn State and Syracuse. He also had nine catches for 133 yards and three touchdowns against Indiana State.
If Jones keeps up this kind of production, he’ll be rewarded with another All-Big Ten honor at wide receiver.
Jacoby Windmon, Michigan State
A lot was expected of the UNLV transfer heading into this season, and Windman has delivered for the Spartans. He has tallied 15 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks through Michigan State‘s first three games.
Four of Windmon’s sacks came in the Spartans’ season-opening win over Western Michigan. In Saturday’s 39-28 loss to Washington the talented senior was limited to just three tackles against the Huskies in a tough environment.
Despite the outcome in Seattle, the transition to Michigan State has been a success for Windmon, and it will be interesting to see how he performs as the Spartans begin Big Ten play this Saturday against Minnesota.
Jalen Berger, Michigan State
Replacing All-American running back Kenneth Walker III was going to be a tough task for Michigan State this season. So far, the Wisconsin transfer has stepped into the lead running back role for the Spartans through the first three games.
Berger tallied more than 100 yards rushing against Western Michigan (120) and Akron (107), including a three-touchdown performance against the Zips. However, the Spartans’ ground game was stifled by Washington in a 39-28 loss in which Berger ran for just 27 yards.
Big Ten competition remains on the Spartans’ schedule, so it will be interesting to see if Berger can bounce back and put up solid numbers the rest of the way.
JD DiRenzo, Rutgers
DiRenzo was a three-time first-team, All-Northeast Conference selection and a two-time All-American at Sacred Heart before joining Rutgers in January. The transition from FCS to Power Five has been a smooth one, as the 6-foot-6, 315-pound talent is starting at left guard for Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights are currently 3-0 on the season, thanks in large part to their ground game. DiRenzo has helped the Rutgers’ rushing attack go for 212 yards in a 22-21 win at Boston College, 328 yards in a blowout of Wagner and 142 yards in a gritty 16-14 win over Temple.