Northwestern

B1G’s 11-strong ‘Players to Watch’ list released

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Most conferences this time of the year release their preseason players of the year.  The Big Ten is not like other conferences.

Ahead of the start of the the B1G Media Days in Chicago Thursday afternoon, the Midwest league released what it calls its “Players to Watch” list.  This year’s list consists of 11 players — six from the West division and five from the East.  There is one more in the West than in the East due to a tie in the media voting.

While there are 11 players listed, just seven schools are represented as four members earned two players each: Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin.  The schools with just one each include Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State.

Interestingly, six of the 11 come from the defensive side of the ball while five come from the offensive.  Also, just one quarterback is represented, and that one wasn’t from Ohio State.

Below is the complete list of preseason honorees.

EAST DIVISION
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State

WEST DIVISION*
Drew Ott, DE, Iowa
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
De’Mornay Pierson-El, WR, Nebraska
Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern
Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin

*Additional honoree due to tie

Alabama lands 12 players on preseason All-SEC media selections

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Before we closed the books on the SEC’s week-long football preview week, the SEC released its annual media preseason all-conference selections. As if one team of preseason All-SEC players is not enough to hold us over, the good folks at the SEC made sure everyone working in the sports information offices throughout the conference (except for Vanderbilt) were busy by naming not two but three All-SEC teams.

The first team offenses is led by one of last year’s biggest breakout stars, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. He is joined by two of the conference’s, and perhaps the nation’s, top two young running backs; Nick Chubb of Georgia and Leonard Fournette of LSU. Fournette also received a nod on the All-SEC Special teams with a second team recognition. Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is expected to have a big return after seeing his 2014 season cut a little short by a tough ankle injury. He was named to the All-SEC First Team by the media this week. He is one of three Rebels to appear on the All-SEC First Team offense.

Among the three All-SEC teams put together by the media, no school had more players recognized than Alabama, with 12. Vanderbilt was the only school without a player selected.

OFFENSE
First-Team
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (170)
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (189)
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (180)
WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (169)
WR D’haquille Williams, Auburn (154)
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss (128)
OL Cam Robinson, Alabama (167)
OL Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss (159)
OL Vadal Alexander, LSU (131)
OL John Theus, Georgia (129)
C Ryan Kelly, Alabama (144)

Second-Team
QB Jeremy Johnson, Auburn (89)
RB Derrick Henry, Alabama (151)
RB Jonathan Williams, Arkansas (82)
WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina (147)
WR De’Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State (59)
TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas (97)
OL Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M (124)
OL Dan Skipper, Arkansas (95)
OL Denver Kirkland, Arkansas (85)
OL Greg Pyke, Georgia (83)
C Mike Matthews, Texas A&M (108)

Third-Team
QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (62)
RB Alex Collins, Arkansas (80)
RB Kenyan Drake, Alabama (34)
WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (50)
WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M (39)
TE O.J. Howard, Alabama (87)
OL Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas (72)
OL Alex Kozan, Auburn (69)
OL Avery Young, Auburn (57)
OL Brandon Shell, South Carolina (50)
C Evan Boehm, Missouri (81)

DEFENSE
First-Team
DL Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (173)
DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama (160)
DL Myles Garrett, Texas A&M (155)
DL Carl Lawson, Auburn (131)
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama (181)
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (121)
LB Curt Maggitt, Tennessee (102)
DB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida (186)
DB Cyrus Jones, Alabama (126)
DB Jonathan Jones, Auburn (122)
DB Jalen Mills, LSU (118)

Second-Team
DL Jonathan Bullard, Florida (115)
DL Derek Barnett, Tennessee (105)
DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama (99)
DL Chris Jones, Mississippi State (93)
LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU (93)
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia (92)
LB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn (80)
DB Tony Conner, Ole Miss (117)
DB Cameron Sutton, Tennessee (115)
DB Will Redmond, Mississippi State (79)
DB Tre’Davious White, LSU (61)

Third-Team
DL Montravius Adams, Auburn (90)
DL Jarran Reed, Alabama (60)
DL Davon Godchaux, LSU (40)
DL Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss (34)
LB Kris Frost, Auburn (77)
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida (66)
LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri (61)
DB A.J. Stamps, Kentucky (59)
DB Eddie Jackson, Alabama (58)
DB Jamal Adams, LSU (56)
DB Johnathan Ford, Auburn (52)

SPECIALISTS
First-Team
P JK Scott, Alabama (161)
PK Marshall Morgan, Georgia (100)
RS Speedy Noil, Texas A&M (117)
AP Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina (112)

Second-Team
P Drew Kaser, Texas A&M (92)
PK Elliott Fry, South Carolina (87)
RS Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina (75)
AP Leonard Fournette, LSU (85)

Third-Team
P Jamie Keehn, LSU (52)
PK Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky (59)
RS Leonard Fournette, LSU (66)
AP Speedy Noil, Texas A&M (84)

Big Ten latest P5 to announce media days attendees

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The SEC has done it this week.  So has the ACC.  Now, it’s the Big Ten’s turn to do it.

The “it,” of course, is a Power Five conference releasing its list of player who will represent their respective schools at the annual preseason media event.  And that’s just what the Big Ten did, with the Midwestern conference revealing the 42 players who’ll represent the league’s 14 member institutions at the B1G Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago July 30-31.

From the conference’s press release:

The list of students scheduled to attend features 27 returning all-conference selections, including first-team honorees in Maryland’s Brad Craddock and William Likely, Michigan State’s Jack Allen and Shilique Calhoun, Minnesota’s Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Penn State’s Anthony Zettel and Rutgers’ Leonte Carroo.

Just five of the 14 teams in attendance will send quarterbacks, with none of those being QB-rich Ohio State: Indiana (Nate Sudfeld), Michigan State (Connor Cook), Minnesota (Mitch Leidner), Nebraska (Tommy Armstrong Jr.) and Wisconsin (Joel Stave).

This is, though, a conference that greatly respects veteran leadership as 36 of the 42 players are classified as seniors. The other six players are juniors.

Below is the complete list of Big Ten players attending football media days.

EAST DIVISION

INDIANA
Adarius Rayner, Sr., DL
Jason Spriggs, Sr., OL*
Nate Sudfeld, Sr., QB

MARYLAND
Brad Craddock, Sr., PK*
William Likely, Jr., DB*
Andrew Zeller, Sr., OL

MICHIGAN
Joe Bolden, Sr., LB
Jehu Chesson, Sr., WR
James Ross III, Sr., LB

MICHIGAN STATE
Jack Allen, Sr., C*
Shilique Calhoun, Sr., DE*
Connor Cook, Sr., QB*

OHIO STATE
Taylor Decker, Sr., OT*
Joshua Perry, Sr., LB*
Adolphus Washington, Sr., DT*

PENN STATE
Jordan Lucas, Sr., S*
Angelo Mangiro, Sr., C/G*
Anthony Zettel, Sr., DT*

RUTGERS
Leonte Carroo, Sr., WR*
Darius Hamilton, Sr., DT*
Keith Lumpkin, Sr., OL

WEST DIVISION

ILLINOIS
Josh Ferguson, Sr., RB
Ted Karras, Sr., OG*
Mason Monheim, Sr., LB*

IOWA
Austin Blythe, Sr., C*
Jordan Lomax, Sr., DB*
Drew Ott, Sr., DE*

MINNESOTA
Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Sr., DB*
Theiren Cockran, Sr., DE*
Mitch Leidner, Jr., QB

NEBRASKA
Tommy Armstrong Jr., Jr., QB
Nate Gerry, Jr., S*
Jordan Westerkamp, Jr., WR

NORTHWESTERN
Traveon Henry, Sr., S
Christian Jones, Sr., WR
Dan Vitale, Sr., SB*

PURDUE
Danny Anthrop, Sr., WR
Robert Kugler, Sr., C*
Frankie Williams, Sr., CB*

WISCONSIN
Michael Caputo, Sr., S*
Corey Clement, Jr., RB
Joel Stave, Sr., QB*

* indicates previous all-conference selection

Northwestern WR Christian Jones can’t catch an injury break

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A significant knee injury kept Christian Jones from playing at all last season.  Now, an issue in the same joint could possibly, maybe have an impact on the upcoming season as well.

According to WildcatReport.com, Jones underwent surgery recently to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.  That’s the same knee in which the wide receiver sustained a torn ACL last August.

As a result of this most recent setback, Jones is expected to be sidelined for a period of roughly four months.  The optimistic prognosis would have the wide receiver back around the start of summer camp in early August; a pessimistic timeline that included a rehab that didn’t go as expected would have Jones’s status for the 2015 opener up in the air.

If healthy, Jones would certainly serve as a significant piece to the Wildcats’ passing puzzle.

In 2013, Jones’ 668 yards receiving were tops on the Wildcats, while his four touchdown catches were tied for the team lead.  He led the team in catches (35) and yards (412) the previous season as well.

Torn ACL to QB Trevor Siemian puts Northwestern bowl hopes in jeopardy

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Northwestern is playing in-state rival Illinois for much more than state pride this week in the regular season finale in Evanston. The Wildcats and Illini are playing for the opportunity to go to a bowl game, with the winning team clinching bowl eligibility this season. The Wildcats will have to go for the win and bowl eligibility without starting quarterback Trevor Siemian. Siemian tore his ACL in a win against Purdue on Saturday, head coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday.

Siemian, a senior, completed 58.2 percent of his pass attempts for 2,214 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He was picked off 11 times by opposing defenses and was hardly a mobile threat, but he did add five rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception this season. In his career, Siemian passed for 5,931 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Northwestern will likely go with junior Zack Oliver at quarterback in the season finale. Oliver filled in for Siemian on Saturday after the injury occurred on a fourth down QB sneak. Oliver has played in three games this season and has completed seven of 19 pass attempts for 146 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Matt Alviti has also appeared in three games this season, completing his only pass attempt of the year for a three-yard gain. He should be expected to be the new backup behind Oliver, used only in an emergency situation.