The Big Ten on Monday announced the 2011 All-Big Ten Teams along with 10 postseason individual award winners, as voted by conference coaches and a media panel. With a new era of Big Ten football beginning this season, the conference debuted its newly created postseason awards process that honors teams, coaches and student-athletes at conference institutions. All of the Big Ten’s biggest individual honors now bear the names of one or two former standouts each. As part of the awards process, 10 of the individual trophies were announced Monday, two more will be revealed on Tuesday and five will be announced on Wednesday.
Conference newcomer Nebraska took home four individual trophies, while Wisconsin had two standouts claim postseason honors. Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern and Penn each had one student-athlete earn an individual honor on Monday.
Nebraska’s Lavonte David took home the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year honor, while teammate Alfonzo Dennard was named the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year. Husker specialist Brett Maher was rewarded for his punting and kicking efforts this season with the Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year and the Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year awards.
The Wisconsin backfield tandem of Montee Ball and Russell Wilson each won their respective position awards. Ball took home the honor named after former Badger running backs, the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year honor, while Wilson becomes the first recipient of the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year accolade.
After leading the conference in receiving, Iowa’s Marvin McNutt was honored with the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year award, while Northwestern superback Drake Dunsmore was named the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year. On the offensive line, Michigan center David Molk was named the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year, while Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still garnered the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year accolades.
Ball was the lone unanimous selection to both the coaches’ and media’s All-Big Ten teams. Molk was selected as the coaches first-team All-Big Ten center, the second consecutive year he has earned that distinction. Defensively, Iowa’s Shaun Prater and Wisconsin’s Antonio Fenelus repeated as first-team performers with Prater earning the nod from the coaches and Fenelus being selected by the media.
The Big Ten also recognized 12 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.