C.J. Fiedorowicz

Senior Bowl recognizes Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald’s practice efforts

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Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald will have to make room on his trophy shelf for at least one more award. Donald was named the top practice player at the Senior Bowl practices this week.

“Donald is a very explosive defensive tackle,” said Mike Smith, the coach of the Atlanta Falcons, in a statement released by the Senior Bowl. The Falcons coaching staff is coaching the North team in this year’s Senior Bowl. “I’ve been very impressed with him. He’s short in stature by NFL standards and doesn’t maybe have all the measurables, but he’s one of the more explosive guys we have on the North squad. He’s done a very nice job both in the running and the pass game.”

Donald cleaned up on the college football awards circuit. He was named the winner of the Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Award, Lombardi Award and Chuck Bednarik Award in addition to being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American.

The Senior Bowl also handed out awards for the top players by position. Auburn’s Dee Ford was named the most outstanding defensive lineman, which is somewhat humorous considering Donald is also a defensive lineman. Northern Illinois defensive back Jimmie Ward, West Virginia running back Charles Sims, Iowa wide receiver C.J. Fiedorowicz, Notre Dame offensive lineman Zach Martin, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and Auburn kicker Cody Parkey have all been recognized for their performance in practices this week as well.

Last year’s top practice player at the Senior Bowl was Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher, who went on to be the number one overall draft pick. Donald may not be the number one pick in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft, but his stock certainly could not be much higher at this point. With NFL scouts and coaches gathering at the Senior Bowl, what a potential draft pick does during practices at the Senior Bowl tends to carry more weight than anything that happens during the actual game, although ending the week on a high note with a solid game performance certainly helps.

Iowa OL Brandon Scherff returning for senior season

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Iowa got some good news on Monday when its All-Big-Ten left tackle, Brandon Scherff, announced he would return for his senior season.

Scherff had a stellar junior year, starting every game for a unit that allowed just 12 sacks (tied for tops in the Big Ten). He had been projected by some as a potential first round pick in the next NFL draft (the Hawkeyes have had six OL selected in the past five drafts).

His return gives Iowa (8-4) a big boost in 2014 as two starters must be replaced on the offensive line as it is. If the Hawkeyes can find a way to make up for the loss of all-star tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, their offense could be much improved.

 

Ohio State’s Braxton Miller highlights All-Big-Ten team

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Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller earned his second-straight Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award to highlight the release of this year’s All-Big-Ten team.

Chris Borland of Wisconsin was the Defensive Player of the Year, Penn State’s Christian Hackenburg was the Freshman of the Year and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio was selected by both media and coaches as the Coach of the Year.

Michigan State and Ohio State both led the way with five first-team selections each.

The link to all the honors are here.

Here are the first-team selections:

OFFENSE

QB — Braxton Miller, Ohio State
RB — Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
RB — Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
WR — Allen Robinson, Penn State
WR — Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
OC — Corey Linsley, Ohio State
OG — John Urschel, Penn State
OG — Ryan Groy, Wisconsin
OT — Brandon Scherff, Iowa
OT — Taylor Lewan, Michigan
TE — C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
PK — Jeff Budzien, Northwestern

DEFENSE

DL — Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DL — Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
DL — Randy Gregory, Nebraska
DL — DaQuan Jones, Penn State
LB — Max Bullough, Michigan State
LB — Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
LB — Chris Borland, Wisconsin
DB — Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
DB — Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DB — Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State
DB — Brock Vereen, Minnesota
DB — Ciante Evans, Nebraska
DB — Bradley Roby, Ohio State
P — Mike Sadler, Michigan State
P — Cody Webster, Purdue