This Week in the Big Ten

July 16, 2017

[ONE // look who’s coming to kickoff]
The Big Ten announced Tuesday the 42 students scheduled to attend the 2017 Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon, held Monday and Tuesday, July 24 and 25, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and Convention Center in Chicago. The list of students scheduled to attend features 25 returning All-Big Ten selections from last season, including a pair of first-team honorees in Ohio State’s Billy Price and Tyquan Lewis. Attendees who have earned second- or third-team all-conference accolades include Indiana’s Tegray Scales and Rashard Fant, Iowa’s Josey Jewell and Sean Welsh, Michigan’s Mason Cole, Michigan State’s Brian Allen, Minnesota’s Steven Richardsonand Rodney Smith, Northwestern’s Godwin Igwebuike and Justin Jackson, Penn State’s Marcus Allen and Jason Cabinda, and Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli. Tickets are still available for the 46th annual event. Individual tickets or full tables to the luncheon are on sale at Tickets are priced at $110 each, with a table seating 10 for $1,100.

[TWO // football standouts honored for good works]
Ten Big Ten students have been nominated for the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced this past Monday. The award, which made its debut in 1992, recognizes college football standouts from across the country who are committed to service in their communities while maintaining the delicate balance of academic and athletic excellence. The 10 Big Ten students earning Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominations this year are Illinois’ Nick Allegretti, Indiana’s Rashard Fant, Maryland’s Adam Greene, Minnesota’s Eric Carter, Nebraska’s Chris Weber, Northwestern’s Justin Jackson, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, Penn State’s Brandon Smith, Rutgers’ Sebastian Joseph and Wisconsin’s Derrick Tindal.

[THREE // five students appear on thorpe award watch list]
Five Big Ten students appear on the 2017 Jim Thorpe Award watch list, it was announced Friday by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The Thorpe Award is presented annually to the nation’s top defensive back. The five Big Ten students on this year’s Thorpe Award watch list are Indiana’s Rashard Fant, Nebraska’s Chris Jones, Northwestern’s Godwin Igwebuike, Ohio State’s Denzel Ward and Penn State’s Marcus Allen.

[FOUR // several standouts named to outland and nagurski watch lists]
No fewer than 25 Big Ten students have been named to the 2017 preseason watch lists for the Outland Trophy (awarded each year to the country’s top interior lineman) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (presented annually to the national defensive player of the year), including two who appear on both lists, following announcements made Thursday by the Football Writers Association of America and, in the case of the Nagurski Trophy, the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Eleven standouts were chosen for this year’s Outland Trophy preseason watch list, while 16 earned mention on this year’s Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list. 

[FIVE // big ten football stars up for nation’s top honors]
The Big Ten appears prominently on the 2017 preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award (presented annually to the nation’s top defensive player) and the Maxwell Award (given each season to the national player of the year), with a combined 26 Big Ten students garnering preseason recognition for the honors, both of which are awarded by the Maxwell Football Club. Fifteen conference students earned a spot on the Bednarik Award preseason watch list, while 11 received mention on the Maxwell Trophy preseason watch list. 

[SIX // fifteen students tabbed for mackey award and rimington trophy]
A collection of 15 Big Ten Conference students have been named to this year's preseason watch lists for the John Mackey Award (given annually to college football's top tight end) and the Rimington Trophy (presented each season to the nation's best center), according to announcements made Tuesday by the awards' respective presenting groups, the Friends of John Mackey and the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Seven Big Ten students were chosen for this year's Mackey Award preseason watch list, while eight appeared on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy.

[SEVEN // five special teams standouts on watch lists]
Five Big Ten special teams standouts appear on the 2017 preseason watch lists for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award (presented each season to the nation’s top placekicker) and the Ray Guy Award (awarded annually to the country’s best punter), it was announced Wednesday by the awards’ presenting organizations, the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Sports Commission and the Augusta (Ga.) Sports Council, respectively. Three Big Ten students are among 30 candidates mentioned on this year’s Groza Award preseason watch list — Minnesota’s Emmit Carpenter, Nebraska’s Drew Brown and Penn State’s Tyler Davis. Two other conference students — Maryland’s Wade Lees and Penn State’s Blake Gillikin — were named to the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list.

[EIGHT // illinois, northwestern, purdue honored for academic success off the hardwood]
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced this past week the fifth annual Team Academic Excellence Awards, with Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue earning recognition. These awards recognize outstanding academic achievement by a team with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better for the 2016-17 season. In order to earn a NABC Team Academic Excellence Award, institutions in the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA must count the grade point averages of all men's student-athletes who competed during the 2016-17 season.

[NINE // former gopher pollard named as illini’s diving coach]
Illinois head swimming coach Sue Novitsky announced this past week the hiring of Emanuel "Manny" Pollard as head diving coach. Pollard most recently worked as a coach for the Minnesota Diving Academy, a position he held from 2012-16. The Albany, New York, native also comes to Champaign having had opportunities to observe Chinese diving, as well as the Beijing Diving Team. In addition, Pollard was an International English Teacher in Beijing, China from 2016-17. As an athlete at the University of Minnesota, Pollard garnered a number of individual accolades. A two-time Minnesota Diver of the Year, Pollard also earned All-American honors three times, once in 2015 after placing 13th in 1-meter competition, and two times in 2016 after placing fifth on the platform and 13th again in 1-meter competition.

[TEN // former hoosier, current gopher coach takes second at lpga major]
Finally this week, congratulations to Minnesota head women’s golf coach Michele Redman, who wowed the field with a second-place finish at the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship in French Lick, Indiana. Redman, an Indiana native and Gopher coach since 2011, finished the three-day tournament at French Lick Resort at 1-under-par (73-69-73—215), three shots behind wire-to-wire leader and champion Trish Johnson. Redman, who competed on the LPGA Tour for 20 years, is an Indiana graduate and a four-time All-Big Ten selection, a two-time All-American and the medalist of the 1987 Big Ten Championships.