Athlon Sports preseason 2014 All-Big Ten teams

Can you smell it in the air Big Ten fans? The 2014 college football season is just around the corner.

Our friends over at Athlon Sports recently released their 2014 Big Ten Football All-Conference teams. Big-time names such as Braxton Miller, Melvin Gordon and Shilique Calhoun highlight the list, which consists of first, second, third and fourth All-Big Ten teams, as well as a team-by-team breakdown of players selected.

Without further ado, here is a look at the teams and some instant thoughts on the picks.

[ MORE: Dienhart: Your team's 2014 must-win game ]

First-Team Offense

QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland
WR Devin Funchess, Michigan
TE Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
C Jack Allen, Michigan State
G Jake Cotton, Nebraska
G Pat Elfein, Ohio State
T Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
T Brandon Scherff, Iowa

This first-team offense is loaded with talent from top to bottom. It’s interesting that Athlon lists Funchess as a wide receiver as oppose to a tight end, but either way, he’s worthy of a first-team nomination. The Big Ten graduated a ton of talent on the offensive line from last season, which is why some of these names may not look as familiar as others. Scherff is a returning All-Big Ten member and should be one of the top offensive tackles in the nation this season.

First-Team Defense

DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State
DT Carl Davis, Iowa
LB Chi Chi Ariguzo, Northwestern
LB Mike Hull, Penn State
LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
CB Blake Countess, Michigan
CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
S Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
S Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State

There will be plenty of talent in the Big Ten on the defensive side of the ball as well in 2014. Calhoun and Gregory are as good as any defensive ends you will find in the nation. The secondary is also stacked with talent, led by Drummond, who is a preseason All-American candidate. The linebacker trio of Ariguzo, Hull and Ryan have seven years of starting experience between the three of them.

Second-Team Offense

QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
RB Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
RB Venric Mark, Northwestern
WR Shane Wynn, Indiana
WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska
TE Tyler Kroft, Rutgers
C Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern
G Zac Epping, Minnesota
G Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
T Taylor Decker, Ohio State
T Donovan Smith, Penn State

How good are Big Ten running backs? Langford rushed for 1,422 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and is a preseason second-team All-Big Ten member. The other second-team running back, Venric Mark, missed the majority of the 2013 season with injuries. Some may argue that Indiana’s Tevin Coleman should be in that spot, but don’t forget, Mark was sensational in 2012 before his 2013 season was shortened. Decker will be looked at to anchor Ohio State’s offensive line after the Buckeyes lost four starters from 2013 to graduation.

Second-Team Defense

DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DE Noah Spence, Ohio State
DT Louis Trinca-Pasat, Iowa
DT Aldolphus Washington, Ohio State
LB Taiwan Jones, Michigan State
LB Steve Longa, Rutgers
LB James Ross III, Michigan
CB Doran Grant, Ohio State
CB Jordan Lucas, Penn State
S Adrian Amos, Penn State
S Corey Cooper, Nebraska

Just like the running back position is stacked in the Big Ten, so is the defensive end spot. Bosa and Spence, both second-team members, combined for 15.5 sacks in 2014. Notice that all four starters on Ohio State’s defensive line are listed as first or second-team All-Big Ten members. Now that’s impressive. Also, keep an eye on MSU linebacker Taiwan Jones, who is expected to move to the inside this season and could have a monster year for the Spartans in 2014.

Third-Team Offense

QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana
RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
WR Tony Lippett, Michigan State
WR Devin Smith, Ohio State
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
C Austin Blythe, Iowa
G Kyle Costigan, Wisconsin
G Dan Feeney, Indiana
T Jack Conklin, Michigan State
T Jason Spriggs, Indiana

You could make an argument that Cook deserves to be on the second-team after leading the Spartans to both a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl win last season. The most intriguing name on this third-team is Elliott, who served in a backup role behind Carlos Hyde last season, but should be the Buckeyes’ lead back this fall. Indiana has quite a presence on this team as three players are selected as third-team All-Big Ten members, including two promising offensive linemen in Feeney and Spriggs.

Third-Team Defense

DE Theiren Cockran, Minnesota
DE Andre Monroe, Maryland
DT Darius Hamilton, Rutgers
DT Warren Herring, Wisconsin
LB Cole Farrand, Maryland
LB Josh Perry, Ohio State
LB David Santos, Nebraska
CB Desmond King, Iowa
CB Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin
S John Lowdermilk, Iowa
S Tyvis Powell, Ohio State

Cockran, who ranked third in the Big Ten with 7.5 sacks last season, continues the trend of talented defensive ends throughout the conference. Shelton and King are both extremely talented and could be first-team members in other conferences around the nation. Keep an eye on Farrand, who recorded 84 tackles in 11 games last season. He should be the leader of the Terrapins’ defense this season.

Fourth-Team Offense

QB Devin Gardner, Michigan
RB David Cobb, Minnesota
RB Mark Weisman, Iowa
WR Christian Jones, Northwestern
WR Kevonte Martin-Manley, Iowa
TE Dan Vitale, Northwestern
C Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
G Ted Karras, Illinois
G Jordan Walsh, Iowa
T Alex Lewis, Nebraska
T Tyler Marz, Wisconsin

Gardner will be looking for a bounce-back year after struggling with turnovers in 2013, especially early on last season. Cobb is a guy who could be higher up on this list after rushing for 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns last season while leading the Gophers to an 8-5 record, including wins over both Nebraska and Penn State. Keep an eye on Lewis, who is a transfer from Colorado, as he is expected to anchor the Huskers’ offensive line in 2014.

Fourth-Team Defense

DE Frank Clark, Michigam
DE C.J. Olaniyan, Penn State
DT Austin Johnson, Penn State
DT Vincent Valentine, Nebraska
LB Derek Landisch, Wisconsin
LB Mason Monheim, Illinois
LB Michael Rose, Nebraska
CB Eric Murray, Minnesota
CB Nick VanHoose, Northwestern
S Michael Caputo, Wisconsin
S Cedric Thompson, Minnesota

Monheim is one of the most underrated players in the conference, and he has the numbers to back it up, recording 97 tackles for the Fighting Illini last season. It’s interesting that we don’t see any incoming freshmen on this list, including Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, who is one of the most highly touted incoming players in the nation this season, regardless of position.

 

Originally from Farmington Hills, MI, I have worked at the Big Ten Network since 2012 and took over my role as web editor and blogger in August, 2013. Follow me on twitter for constant Big Ten updates @srmerriman. Thanks and enjoy!!

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5 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (5 Comments)
Ian Waters on 6/13/2014 @ 8:56pm EDT Said:

I think every1 still hasn’t recognized Jordan Canzeri. Been saying it 3 years, this year watch out.

Chaz on 6/14/2014 @ 8:06am EDT Said:

Looks like the Buckeyes are loaded on the D line. We’ll see if this helps the pass defense……

Big Ten Fan on 6/15/2014 @ 5:51pm EDT Said:

Not buying these teams. Here is the real first team.

T – Donovan Smith, Penn State (Top returning linemen in the Big Ten)
T – Brandon Scherff, Iowa (Outplayed Taylor Lewan for parts of last season)
G – Jake Cotton, Nebraska
G – Kyle Castigan, Wisconsin
C – Jack Allen, Michigan State
TE – Jesse James, Penn State (Easily the best blocker/reciever combo in the Big Ten)
WR – Devin Funchess, Michigan (I fully agree with listing him as a reciver because that is what he is)
WR – Stefon Diggs, Maryland (Saw him play in person before getting hurt. Sammy Watkins clone)
RB – Braxton Miller, Ohio State (Yes, he is a running back and he is a better runner than Abdullah and Gordan, end of discussion)
FB – Zack Zwinak, Penn State (Most Big Ten teams still use a fullback and ZZ Top is a fullback)
QB – Christian Hackenberg, Penn State

DE – Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (Best defender in Big Ten and maybe nation)
DE – Deion Barnes, Penn State (Was best pass rusher in Big Ten two years ago, switched sides but proved remarkably effective as a combo end)
DT – Michael Bennett, Ohio State (Likely to be third or fourth teamer at year’s end but to put someone else here requires a lot of projection)
DT – Carl Davis, Iowa (Same as above)
LB – Mike Hull, Penn State (Top returning linebacker in Big Ten. Was just as good as Shazier and Borland while playing at 75%)
LB – Taiwan Jones, Michigan State
LB – Nayeem Wartman, Penn State
S – Adrian Amos, Penn State (Top returning defensive back in Big Ten)
S – Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
CB – Trae Waynes, Michigan State
CB – Jordan Lucas, Penn State

bigtengrad on 6/16/2014 @ 9:42am EDT Said:

Hilarious list, Big Ten (PSU) Fan.

Big Ten Fan on 6/16/2014 @ 8:24pm EDT Said:

Don’t be mad that I know the Big Ten better than you do.

If you want a not so bold prediction, Ohio State loses three or four games. Michigan loses at least seven. Michigan State makes the playoff. Penn State heads to a BCS bowl. Iowa represents the Big Ten in the Citrus Bowl coming off a West division title and December becomes silly season after Hoke, Pelini, Beckman and Wilson get canned after their team flounder.

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