David Fox Rivals.com College Football Staff Writer
Ohio State, Iowa and Penn State - the three teams in contention for the Big Ten championship for most of the season - dominate the Rivals.com all-conference team.
Those teams landed a combined 28 players for 52 spots. Iowa led the way with 12, followed by Ohio State's eight and Penn State's seven. The Hawkeyes (six) and Nittany Lions (five) led the way with first-team selections.
PARTICULARS: 6-3/220, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Chicago St. Rita
BUZZ: Kafka battled injuries near the end of the season, but few quarterbacks were as consistent this season as a healthy Kafka. He had the highest completion percentage in the Big Ten (65.7 percent) on 414 pass attempts. Kafka was a part-time player against Penn State and Iowa, but he finished the season with 2,898 passing yards.
PARTICULARS: 6-1/248, Soph. HIGH SCHOOL: Racine (Wis.) Washington Park
BUZZ: Wisconsin continues to producing punishing running backs. Clay led the Big Ten in rushing with 1,396 yards and 16 touchdowns. In each of the final five regular-season games, he had at least 100 yards and a touchdown, but he struggled in losses to Ohio State and Iowa.
PARTICULARS: 6-1/213, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Fairfax (Va.) Westfield
BUZZ: Royster took a couple of games to warm up, but he finished with 1,104 yards and eight total touchdowns. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry, the highest total for a Big Ten back with more than 110 carries.
PARTICULARS: 6-3/220, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Cold Spring (Minn.) Rocori
BUZZ: Despite missing the final four games, Decker had the eighth-most receiving yards in the Big Ten, with 758. If he had played enough games to qualify, Decker would have led the conference in receiving yards per game. His season ended with a foot injury.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/226, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Fort Hood (Texas) Shoemaker
BUZZ: Smith was one of the conference's breakout stars. After catching 49 passes last season, he was the lone Big Ten receiver to top 1,000 yards this season. He also led the conference with 91 catches, a dozen more than anyone else in the league.
PARTICULARS: 6-3/250, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Brick (N.J.) Memorial
BUZZ: Graham headlines a deep group of Big Ten tight ends. He was the top producer across the board at his position with 45 catches, 547 yards and seven touchdowns for the Badgers, who attempted the fewest passes in the Big Ten.
PARTICULARS: 6-6/312, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Woodstock (Ill.) Marian Central Catholic
BUZZ: A three-year starter, Bulaga is one of the top linemen in the country. Should he declare for the NFL draft, he will be among the first offensive linemen selected.
PARTICULARS: 6-4/306, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Burlington (N.J.) Holy Cross
BUZZ: After starting at right tackle for two seasons, Landolt moved to the left side as a senior and continued to have success. The Nittany Lions allowed the second-fewest sacks in the Big Ten.
PARTICULARS: 6-5/320, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: West Haven (Conn.) Notre Dame
BUZZ: Wisconsin wouldn't have led the Big Ten in rushing if not for some good blocking up front. Moffitt, who missed two starts because of injury, is a major reason the Badgers average more than 200 rushing yards per game.
PARTICULARS: 6-6/305, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Wheaton (Ill.) Warrenville South
BUZZ: When healthy, Richardson is one of the best guards in the conference. Despite a revolving door at running back, Iowa still had success in the ground game thanks to Richardson. The Hawkeyes were 8-0 with him in the lineup.
PARTICULARS: 6-3/297, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Pittsburgh Central Catholic
BUZZ: Wisniewski has been a starter since his true freshman season. After starting his career at guard, he moved to center and has thrived.
PARTICULARS: 6-2/263, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Detroit Crockett Technical
BUZZ: Graham wrapped up a standout career by leading the nation in tackles for loss with 26. He also had 10.5 sacks and two blocked kicks this season. He finished his career with 29.5 sacks.
PARTICULARS: 6-4/258, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Caledonia (Minn.) High
BUZZ: Taking over for Mitch King, Klug was one of the anchors of the Iowa defense. Despite his lack of bulk, Klug finished the season with 12 tackles for loss. He also got his hands on a fair share of passes at the line.
PARTICULARS: 6-5/296, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Lebanon (Pa.) High
BUZZ: Odrick received nods at the end of the season as the top defensive player in the conference. It's well-deserved. He anchors a top-10 rush defense while opening things up so Penn State's linebackers can make plays.
PARTICULARS: 6-4/263, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Muncie (Ind.) Central
BUZZ: Opponents had trouble holding onto the ball when Kerrigan was on the field. He led the nation with seven forced fumbles. He also led the Big Ten with 13 sacks.
PARTICULARS: 6-1/235, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Bettendorf (Iowa) High
BUZZ: Another Big Ten tackling machine, Angerer was fifth in the nation with 135 stops. His shining moment came in a victory at Penn State when he recorded 14 tackles to go with an interception and a forced fumble.
PARTICULARS: 6-1/232, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Forestville (Md.) Suitland
BUZZ: Bowman again was one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten. Teaming with a healthy Sean Lee for most of the year made Bowman that much more effective. He had 15.5 tackles for loss and two defensive touchdowns (one on an interception, the other on a fumble recovery).
PARTICULARS: 6-1/228, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Cincinnati Moeller
BUZZ: In an otherwise forgettable season for the Spartans, Jones exceeded all expectations. He was everywhere for Michigan State's defense, leading the Big Ten in tackles with 141. He also led the Spartans in tackles for loss (13∏) and sacks (nine).
PARTICULARS: 6-0/190, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Middletown (Conn.) Xavier
BUZZ: The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense thanks to contributions from Spievey. He has eight pass breakups and two interceptions. Both picks came in a win over Wisconsin.
PARTICULARS: 6-0/185, Jr. HIGH SCHOOL: Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
BUZZ: Too bad Michigan didn't have much help for Warren on defense. He had a career year, especially early, when Michigan started 4-0. Warren finished with four interceptions and seven pass breakups.
PARTICULARS: 6-4/215, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Export (Pa.) Franklin Regional
BUZZ: The reliable veteran turned in a career year in his final season on campus. He led the Wildcats with 84 tackles and four forced fumbles, but he saved his best performance for last. Phillips had 12 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack in the upset of Wisconsin.
PARTICULARS: 6-1/210, Soph. HIGH SCHOOL: Oskaloosa (Iowa) High
BUZZ: He's another reason Iowa was fourth in the nation in pass efficiency defense and excelled in creating turnovers. Sash has six interceptions this season and at one point had eight picks in a span of seven games dating to 2008.
PARTICULARS: 6-5/231, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Twinsburg (Ohio) High
BUZZ: Much went wrong for Michigan this season, but punting was not one of the problem areas. A Ray Guy Award finalist, Mesko was eighth in the nation at 44.5 yards per punt. The Wolverines were fourth in the nation in net punting.
PARTICULARS: 5-9/185, Sr. HIGH SCHOOL: Cleveland Glenville
BUZZ: Fisher missed the final three game of the season with a knee injury but still led the nation at 37.4 yards per kickoff return. He returned kickoffs for touchdowns against Akron and Northwestern.