Aaron Doster/USA Today

Hawkeye Insider: Preseason All-Big Ten 1st and 2nd Teams

Hawkeye Insider names their preseason all-Big Ten first and second teams for 2016 and individual awards.


QUARTERBACK: C.J. BEATHARD, IOWA - J.T. Barrett will get most of the attention for this distinction but life may not be as fun without Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield. Add in a healthy C.J. and he should definitely compete heavily for this honor.
RUNNING BACK: SAQUON BARKLEY, PENN STATE - I think he's a no brainer and easily the best running back in the conference even as just a sophomore.
RUNNING BACK: JUSTIN JACKSON, NORTHWESTERN - This could be a tight race between Jackson and L.J. Scott of MSU. Jackson is a touch better in my opinion. 
WIDE RECEIVER: CHRIS GODWIN, PENN STATE - This is a weak position in the Big Ten for 2016 and he's the top returning player in the league.
WIDE RECEIVER: JEHU CHESSON, MICHIGAN - Jim Harbaugh may say that Amara Darboh is his best receiver but I'll still roll with Chesson, who came on big-time a season ago.
WIDE RECEIVER: SIMMIE COBBS, INDIANA - He put up big numbers a season ago and is a playmaker and should not be short of chances in the Hoosiers' high-powered offense.
TIGHT END: JAKE BUTT, MICHIGAN - Another no-brainer to me. He might be the best player in the Big Ten regardless of position. He's that good. 
OFFENSIVE LINE: PAT ELFLEIN, OHIO STATE - He would have a top draft pick had he left early. A lot of experience and skill should have him on everyone's list.
OFFENSIVE LINE: BRIAN ALLEN, MICHIGAN STATE - Was great a year ago and should be again in 2016.
OFFENSIVE LINE: DAN FEENEY, INDIANA - He might be my top offensive lineman overall. Feeney is special.
OFFENSIVE LINE: MASON COLE, MICHIGAN - His versatility gets him on the first team in my book. Cole has played all over the offensive line and very well.
OFFENSIVE LINE: SEAN WELSH, IOWA - Another versatile linemen that can play multiple spots. He'll be one of the cornerstones for the Hawkeyes. 


DEFENSIVE END: MALIK MCDOWELL, MICHIGAN STATE - He just may be the defensive player in the entire league and will be drafted very, very, very high.
DEFENSIVE END: DAWAUNE SMOOT, ILLINOIS - He flashed in many games last season and has attention of NFL scouts. This year should be his true coming out party.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: JALEEL JOHNSON, IOWA - If he can hold steady for the entire season, this is another breakout candidate in the Big Ten. 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: CHRIS WORMLEY, MICHIGAN - He had a sneaky, quiet great season a year ago. I expect more of the same this year.
LINEBACKER: RAEKWON MCMILLAN, OHIO STATE - I'm going to make some people upset by this but he's the best linebacker in the Big Ten.
LINEBACKER: ANTHONY WALKER, NORTHWESTERN - A tackle machine and one of the better unknown players in the country.
LINEBACKER: JOSEY JEWELL, IOWA - Also unknown nationally but that will change after this season. He just may be in the Butkus Award conversation.
CORNERBACK: DESMOND KING, IOWA - The returning Jim Thorpe Award winner. Enough said.
CORNERBACK: JOURDAN LEWIS, MICHIGAN - It could be his turn to win the Jim Thorpe Award. You're really splitting hairs with him and King. The two best cornerbacks in the country are in the Big Ten.
SAFETY: JABRILL PEPPERS, MICHIGAN - Is he a linebacker? Is he a safety? I don't really know but he's a heck of a football player and can play for me any day of the week. 
SAFETY: NATE GERRY, NEBRASKA - It seems like he's been in Lincoln for 10 years. That experience and solid play alone make him one of the best in the league. 


QUARTERBACK: J.T. BARRETT, OHIO STATE - This year could prove to be much more of a challenge than he's seen thus far but the quarterbacks in the league are a question mark giving Barrett the edge.
RUNNING BACK: L.J. SCOTT, MICHIGAN STATE - The light definitely came on at the end of the last season and that should propel him into this season.
RUNNING BACK: MIKE WEBER, OHIO STATE - Every back at Ohio State seems to take off in a big way. There's no reason not to think the same will be the case for Weber.
WIDE RECEIVER: AMARA DARBOH, MICHIGAN - Jim Harbaugh says he's the best receiver for Michigan and they have Jehu Chesson. That's saying a lot.
WIDE RECEIVER: JORDAN WESTERKAMP, NEBRASKA - Another Cornhusker that has seemed to be in school for forever. Very productive player and as consistent as they come.
WIDE RECEIVER: NOAH BROWN, OHIO STATE - He was due to break out last year but was sidelined all season with a bad leg injury. If healthy, look out. 
TIGHT END: GEORGE KITTLE, IOWA - Some good choices here like Minnesota's Brandon Lingen, Nebraska's Cethan Carter, or MSU's Josiah Price. But Kittle is my breakout player for Iowa and I think he has an outstanding season.
OFFENSIVE LINE: COLE CROSTON, IOWA - He was one of the surprises for Iowa a season ago and he should be under consideration for postseason honors if he stays on that trajectory.
OFFENSIVE LINE: DAN VOLTZ, WISCONSIN - If not for coming off an injury he's likely on the first team. If he's fully recovered, he's one of the best.
OFFENSIVE LINE: BILLY PRICE, OHIO STATE - He's been starting seemingly since he stepped foot on campus and has been a mainstay. One of the more experienced players in the entire conference.
OFFENSIVE LINE: ERIK MAGNUSON, MICHIGAN - A lot of starts. A lot of experience and big improvement last year. It should be a huge season for him. 
OFFENSIVE LINE: DAMIAN PRINCE, MARYLAND - I was kind of torn between he and Nick Gates of Nebraska. Prince was a former 5-star recruit and the light should come on for him soon. 


DEFENSIVE END: TYQUAN LEWIS, OHIO STATE - He was pretty good a season go and it went largely unnoticed because of some guy named Joey Bosa. 
DEFENSIVE END: SAM HUBBARD, OHIO STATE - He has an NFL future and should be one of the breakout players in the conference. The Buckeyes have done pretty good at defensive end lately so this isn't much of a reach. 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: JAKE REPLOGLE, PURDUE - He's one of the best players that nobody knows about because he plays for the Boilermakers. 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: KEVIN MAURICE, NEBRASKA - His name is starting to really circulate and the Huskers are in a nice run of defensive tackles right now. 
LINEBACKER: VINCE BIEGEL, WISCONSIN - In most years he would probably be first team but it's a good year for linebackers in the Big Ten. 
LINEBACKER: RILEY BULLOUGH, MICHIGAN STATE - His brothers were good and so is he. You'll know his name very soon. 
LINEBACKER: JOSH BANDERAS, NEBRASKA - He's been a solid contributor for the Huskers for a while now. 
CORNERBACK: WILL LIKELY, MARYLAND - He's small but he's one of the best playmakers in the conference that can not be overlooked. 
CORNERBACK: RASHARD FANT, INDIANA - It's a bit of a gamble taking him over Gareon Conley of Ohio State and Sojourn Shelton of Wisconsin but I think the Hoosiers might have a future NFL player with Fant. 
SAFETY: GODWIN IGWEBUIKE, NORTHWESTERN - He can play all over the field as he's one of the best all-around athletes in the conference.
SAFETY: DEMETRIOUS COX, MICHIGAN STATE - A nose for the ball and a very rangy safety. The Spartans know how to coach up their defensive backs as good as anyone in the Big Ten. 


OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: SAQUON BARKLEY, PENN STATE - I think we got a taste of how good this kid can be when we saw him go off for over 200 yards against Ohio State behind a pretty putrid offensive line. They were getting stomped by the Buckeyes and he just kept taking it to the OSU defense. That's all I needed to see. Ball player. 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MALIK MCDOWELL, MICHIGAN STATE - I would be tempted to choose Desmond King or Jourdan Lewis who are 1A and 1B to me but it's so tough for defensive backs to get this award unless they score multiple touchdowns and a ton of interceptions. Both will likely be avoided too much for that to happen. McDowell on the other hand should be a beast and really take off as a player. He'll command respect and attention much like Bosa did for the last two seasons. Future top 5 NFL Draft pick to me and Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten.

COACH OF THE YEAR: JAMES FRANKLIN, PENN STATE - He's got a new quarterback but a favorable road schedule inside the Big Ten, an MSU and OSU that have to reload, and the best running back and receiver in the Big Ten to me. It's probably a boom or bust season for the Nittany Lions. Coach of the Year or maybe on the way out. I'll go with the former for now. 

Hawkeye Insider Top Stories