May 2, 2011
Park Ridge, Ill. - Twenty-nine Big Ten Conference student-athletes were selected during the 2011 National Football League (NFL) Draft held from April 28-30, including six first-round picks from five different institutions. The Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC were the only conferences to produce at least six first-round selections. The Big Ten's six first-round picks were the most for the conference since six players were chosen in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
The Big Ten led all conferences with five defensive linemen selected in the opening round, beginning with Lott Trophy winner J.J. Watt of Wisconsin. The first-team All-American was the Big Ten's first selection at No. 11 overall by Houston. Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue was chosen next at No. 16 by Washington, followed by three more defensive linemen in Illinois' Corey Liuget (18th to San Diego), Iowa's Adrian Clayborn (20th to Tampa Bay) and Ohio State's Cameron Heyward (31st to Pittsburgh). Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi became the second Badger picked in the first round at No. 29 overall by Chicago.
The Hawkeyes led the Big Ten with six picks over the three-day draft, followed by five selections each from the Buckeyes and Badgers. In addition, future Big Ten member Nebraska ranked fourth among all teams with seven draft choices. Iowa and Nebraska were two of only eight teams with six or more draftees along with Clemson, Georgia, Louisiana State, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina and Southern California.
The entire list of conference draftees can be found at www.bigten.org.
The Big Ten will hold the 2011 Football Media Days and 40th annual Kickoff Luncheon on Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, featuring all 12 head coaches and some of the nation's top returning players. The 116th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, September 1, when Wisconsin hosts UNLV. The conference's other 11 teams open action on Saturday, September 3.