Big Ten Announces 2006 Football All-Conference Teams And Individual Honors
Nov. 21, 2006
Park Ridge, Ill. - The Big Ten announced the 2006 All-Conference football teams and individual award winners today as selected by the coaches and a media panel. After leading Ohio State to a perfect 12-0 regular season and a second-straight conference title, Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year by both the coaches and media, including a unanimous selection on the media side. Michigan and Wisconsin ended the year with identical 11-1 marks and dominated the remaining individual honors. For the Wolverines, defensive end LaMarr Woodley was honored as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by both the coaches and media while also picking up Defensive Lineman of the Year accolades from the coaches. Teammate Jake Long was tabbed by the coaches as the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. For the Badgers, first-year mentor Bret Bielema was selected as the media's choice for the Dave McClain Coach of the Year while running back P.J. Hill was chosen as the Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and media.
Smith boosted Ohio State to its first outright Big Ten Championship since 1984 while posting back-to-back titles for the first time since the school won six straight crowns from 1972-77. He becomes the fifth Buckeye to earn Offensive Player of Year laurels and the first since quarterback Joe Germaine was honored by the coaches in 1998. Three other OSU standouts were honored by both the media and coaches including offensive tackle Orlando Pace (1996) and running backs Eddie George (1995) and Keith Byars (1984). Smith established a Big Ten record with five Player of the Week nods this season while leading the conference with a pass efficiency rating of 167.9, the highest rating by a Big Ten signal caller since at least 1985. The Cleveland, Ohio, native topped the conference with 30 touchdown passes, breaking the previous school record of 29 touchdowns set by Bobby Hoying in 1995 and ranking third in Big Ten annals behind only Purdue's Drew Brees (39 in 1998) and Kyle Orton (31 in 2004). Smith, who was also named the preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year back in August, completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,507 yards with only five interceptions in 12 games. He is currently the Big Ten's career leader with a pass efficiency rating of 159.7 while ranking sixth with a completion percentage of 63.4 percent. Smith is a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards and a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards.
Long becomes the second Wolverine in the last three years to claim Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year accolades along with center David Baas, who was honored in 2004. Other Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year honorees from Michigan include guard Steve Hutchinson (2000) and tackles Jon Jansen (1998) and Greg Skrepenak (1991). After earning second team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman in 2004, Long missed the first seven games last season due to injury before returning to start four of the final five contests, including the Alamo Bowl. The Lapeer, Michigan, native has started all 12 games at left tackle in 2006 to help the Michigan offense lead the Big Ten with 189.2 rushing yards per game, after ranking ninth in that category in 2005.
In his first season on the sidelines, Bielema joins his predecessor Barry Alvarez as the second Wisconsin mentor to be named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Alvarez, the school's current Director of Athletics, was honored in 1993 and 1998. Bielema becomes the first individual in conference history to claim Coach of the Year honors in his first year as a head coach. Four other coaches were honored in their first year on campus, including Michigan State's John L. Smith (2003), Purdue's Joe Tiller (1997), Illinois John Mackovic (1988) and Ohio State's Earl Bruce (1979), but each of them had previous head coaching experience. Bielema guided the Badgers to 11 regular-season victories for the first time in school history, matching the program record of 11 triumphs (including a Rose Bowl win) set in 1998. He is the first rookie head coach (with no prior head coaching experience) in Big Ten history to guide a team to 10 or more victories and seven wins in conference play. Bielema is also only the sixth first-year head coach (with no prior experience) in NCAA history to win 11 or more games.
Overall, there are 12 individuals repeating as members of the All-Big Ten first or second team from a year ago, including three first-team selections from 2005 who are on this year's first team - Minnesota's Matt Spaeth, Penn State's Paul Posluszny and Wisconsin's Joe Thomas. In addition, Michigan State's Brandon Fields returned to the first team after being honored as a first-team selection following his freshman and sophomore campaigns in 2003 and 2004. Fields is the Spartans' first three-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree since linebacker Percy Snow was honored from 1987-89.
The conference office also announced honorees from each team for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for football are J Leman of Illinois, Will Meyers of Indiana, Jason Manson of Iowa, Steve Breaston of Michigan, Drew Stanton of Michigan State, Spaeth of Minnesota, Joel Howells of Northwestern, Antonio Smith of Ohio State, Levi Brown of Penn State, Mike Otto of Purdue and John Stocco of Wisconsin. These 11 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
A complete listing of the 2006 All-Big Ten Teams and individual honors follows.
2006 All-Big Ten Conference Football Team
HONORABLE MENTION: ILLINOIS: VONTAE DAVIS, JASON REDA, Pierre Thomas; INDIANA: JAMES HARDY, TRACY PORTER; IOWA: Mike Elgin, Andy Fenstermaker, MIKE KLINKENBORG, BRYAN MATTISON, Kyle Schlicher; MICHIGAN: Prescott Burgess; MICHIGAN STATE: Clifton Ryan, BRETT SWENSON; MINNESOTA: DOMINIC JONES, Logan Payne, WILLIE VANDESTEEG; NORTHWESTERN: BRENDAN SMITH, TYRELL SUTTON; OHIO STATE: KIRK BARTON, MARCUS FREEMAN, Jay Richardson, A.J. TRAPASSO; PENN STATE: Ed Johnson, ANTHONY SCIRROTTO; PURDUE: JARED ARMSTRONG, JORDAN GRIMES, CURTIS PAINTER; WISCONSIN: TRAVIS BECKUM, JONATHAN CASILLAS, MARCUS COLEMAN, ALLEN LANGFORD, Joe Stellmacher, John Stocco, ERIC VANDEN HEUVEL.
2006 All-Big Ten Conference Football Team
HONORABLE MENTION: ILLINOIS: Alan Ball, VONTAE DAVIS, JASON REDA; IOWA: Scott Chandler, Mike Elgin, Miguel Merrick, BRYAN MATTISON, Marcus Paschal, Kyle Schlicher, ADAM SHADA, Marshal Yanda; MICHIGAN: JAMAR ADAMS, Prescott Burgess, SHAWN CRABLE, Rueben Riley; MICHIGAN STATE: Kyle Cook, Kerry Reed, Clifton Ryan, BRETT SWENSON, OTIS WILEY; MINNESOTA: DOMINIQUE BARBER, DOMINIC JONES; NORTHWESTERN: TYRELL SUTTON, COREY WOOTTON; OHIO STATE: ANTHONY GONZALEZ, David Patterson, Jay Richardson; PENN STATE: DEON BUTLER, Ed Johnson, JUSTIN KING, Tim Shaw, A.Q. SHIPLEY; PURDUE: JARED ARMSTRONG, George Hall, DUSTIN KELLER, Mike Otto; WISCONSIN: JONATHAN CASILLAS, JASON CHAPMAN, MARCUS COLEMAN, KEN DEBAUCHE, Joe Stellmacher, John Stocco, Mark Zalewski.
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees: J Leman, ILL; Will Meyers, IND; Jason Manson, IOWA; Steve Breaston, MICH; Drew Stanton, MSU; Matt Spaeth, MINN; Joel Howells, NU; Antonio Smith, OSU; Levi Brown, PSU; Mike Otto, PUR; John Stocco, WIS.