Nov. 30, 2011
Park Ridge, Ill – The Big Ten Conference announced on Wednesday the winners of the top five individual awards for the 2011 football season. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, Penn State’s Devon Still was named the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year, and Michigan’s Brady Hoke was named the Hayes-Schembechler and Dave McClain Coach of the Year. The honors are part of the Big Ten’s enhanced football awards program which debuted this season.
Ball becomes the fourth Badger, and the second in the last three years, to earn the Big Ten’s top offensive honor, joining Brent Moss (1993), Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne (1999) and John Clay (2009). A unanimous All-Big Ten selection, Ball set a new conference record with 34 touchdowns this season and leads the nation with 17.2 points scored per game this season. Ball ranks first in the Big Ten in rushing (135.2) and all-purpose (157.8) yards per game this year and is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. He was named the Big Ten’s Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year, named for a pair of iconic Wisconsin running backs.
A first-team All-Big Ten honoree, Still is the second Penn State defensive tackle in the last three years to receive the conference’s top defensive accolade and is the fifth Penn State player to be named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, joining LaVar Arrington (1998), Courtney Brown (1999), Michael Haynes (2002) and Jared Odrick (2009). Still ranks among the best in nation with 17 tackles for loss and is a finalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik awards and the Outland Trophy. He was named the conference’s Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year, named in part for fellow Nittany Lion Brown.
A two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week honoree, Miller is the seventh Ohio State player to take home the conference’s Freshman of the Year accolade. The quarterback played in 11 games for the Buckeyes and started the team’s last nine games. Miller finished the regular season ranked among the conference’s top 10 in total offense with 11 passing and seven rushing touchdowns to go with 1,692 total yards.
Hoke becomes the third Michigan head coach to be named the Big Ten Coach of the Year, joining Bo Schembechler, who won the award six different seasons, and Gary Moeller, who earned the recognition twice. In his first year in Ann Arbor, Hoke led the Wolverines to their first 10-win season since 2006 and a second-place finish in the Legends Division. Hoke is just the second Michigan coach to win 10 or more games in his first season, joining the legendary Fielding Yost in 1901. The Wolverines’ 10-2 record also marks the second-best improvement in wins by a first-year head coach in program history.
For more information on the Big Ten’s enhanced football awards program, and to read more about the trophy namesakes, visit www.bigten.org.