On Monday, the Big Ten announced its All-Big Ten football team voted on by coaches. MSU seniors Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard and Isaiah Lewis, juniors Kurtis Drummond and Mike Sadler, and sophomore Shilique Calhoun were all named to the first team.
In addition to their first team honors, Dennard received the Tatum-Woodson Award for the conference’s best defensive back and Calhoun won the Smith-Brown award for the conference’s best defensive linemen.
The Spartans also received second team selections for seniors Denicos Allen, Blake Treadwell and sophomore Connor Cook, and honorable mentions for seniors Fou Fonoti and Dan France, juniors Jeremy Langford and Marcus Rush and sophomore Jack Allen.
State’s defense picked up a lot of recognition, which should have been expected given that as a group, they are third in the country in average points allowed with 11.8 points per a game.
The biggest surprise is Cook getting named to the second team. Not that Cook has done a poor job in his role as the starter this season, but his game does not generate the same recognition as Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase. He threw for more yards, touchdowns and had a higher completion rating than Cook.
However, Cook leads Scheelhaase in one major category – wins. Cook was able to guide the Spartans to an 11-win season and a Legends Division championship, while Scheelhaase managed just four wins and quarterbacked one of the more underwhelming teams in the Big Ten. It appears that Big Ten coaches in the Big Ten value overall team play instead of individual statistics.
Individual awards are great, but Spartans have more than All-Big Ten honors on their mind as they head to Indianapolis tonight to play in the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State. They’re looking to hand Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes their first loss in two years, and make their way to Pasadena for this year’s Rose Bowl.
Sam Metry is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever