Twenty-three Big Ten players appear on the 2011 Nagurski and Outland Trophy watch lists, which were announced on Friday. The conference boasts 10 players on the watch list for the Nagurski Trophy, given to the top defensive player in the country. Another 13 players appear on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the best interior lineman in the nation. The Big Ten's 13 players on the Outland Trophy watch list leads all conferences.
Highlighting the Nagurski Trophy watch list are Illinois' Akeem Spence, Iowa's Shaun Prater, Michigan's Mike Martin, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy, Nebraska's Jared Crick and Lavonte David, Northwestern's Vince Browne, Ohio State's Nathan Williams, Penn State's Michael Mauti and Purdue's Kawann Short. Three Big Ten players have reeled in the award all-time - Ohio State's James Laurinaitis (2006), Michigan's Charles Woodson (1997) and the trophy's only two-time winner in Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (1995-96).
Eight offensive and five defensive linemen hailing from Big Ten teams decorate the Outland Trophy watch list. Illinois' Jeff Allen, Iowa's Reilly Reiff, Michigan's David Molk, Michigan State's Joel Foreman, Northwestern's Al Netter, Ohio State's Mike Brewster, Purdue's Ken Plue and Wisconsin's Kevin Zeitler represent the conference among the offensive linemen on the list, while Illinois' Spence, Michigan's Martin, Michigan State's Worthy, Nebraska's Crick and Purdue's Short each earned recognition on the defensive side of the ball. Thirteen Big Ten players have earned the award all-time, including the trophy's most recent winner in Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi.