June 29, 2006
Park Ridge, Ill. - A total of 30 Big Ten football standouts have been honored over the past few months by being named to the watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Ted Hendricks Award (top defensive end), Maxwell Award (top college player), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and Outland Trophy (best offensive or defensive lineman).
The Big Ten boasted 12 standouts on the Maxwell Award watch list, seven nominees for the Ted Hendricks Award, six honorees on the Bednarik Award watch list and five nominees for both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Outland Trophy. Three conference standouts appear on multiple watch lists in Michigan's LaMar Woodley, Ohio State's Quinn Pitcock and Penn State's Paul Posluszny.
The Maxwell Award watch list features 12 conference standouts in Iowa's Drew Tate and Albert Young, Michigan's Steve Breaston, Michael Hart and Chad Henne, Michigan State's Drew Stanton, Northwestern's Tyrell Sutton, Ohio State's Ted Ginn, Antonio Pittman and Troy Smith, Penn State's Derek Williams and Wisconsin's John Stocco. The Wolverines and Buckeyes join Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame and Southern California with three individuals each on the list. A Big Ten player has claimed the Maxwell Award on 14 occasions, most recently when Nittany Lion running back Larry Johnson was honored in 2002.
The Big Ten's six student-athletes on the Bednarik Award watch list are Michigan's duo of linebacker Prescott Burgess and defensive end Woodley, Ohio State defensive lineman Pitcock and the Penn State trio of linebackers Dan Connor, Posluszny and Tim Shaw. The Nittany Lions were one of only four programs to feature three or more players on the watch list along with Florida, Georgia and USC. The Big Ten has collected the Bednarik Award five times, most recently when Posluszny picked up the honor last season.
The Big Ten placed seven student-athletes on the Ted Hendricks Award watch list, including Iowa's Kenny Iwebema, Michigan's Alan Brach and Woodley, Northwestern's Kevin Mims, Ohio State's David Patterson, Purdue's Anthony Spencer and Wisconsin's Matthew Shaughnessy.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the best defensive player in college football and boasts Michigan's Leon Hall and Woodley, Michigan State's David Herron, Ohio State's Pitcock and Penn State's Posluszny on the watch list. A Big Ten player has claimed the Bronko Nagurski Trophy three times, most recently when Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson was honored in 1997.
The Outland Trophy tabbed five Big Ten players for its watch list including Michigan's Jake Long, Ohio State's Kirk Barton and Pitcock, Penn State's Levi Brown and Wisconsin's Joe Thomas. The Big Ten has collected the Outland Trophy on 11 occasions, most recently when Minnesota's Greg Eslinger picked up the 2005 accolade.
Some of the players listed above will be featured at the 2006 Football Media Days and 35th annual Kickoff Luncheon, which will be held on Tuesday-Wednesday, Aug. 1-2, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The 111th season of Big Ten football kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 31, with Minnesota battling Kent State and Northwestern playing Miami (Ohio). The remaining league teams take the field on Saturday, Sept. 2, for non-conference action.