Monday, December 5, 2011
AFCA All-America team has six from B1G
By Adam Rittenberg
The American Football Coaches Association has released its 2011 All-America team, which includes six players from the Big Ten.
The SEC leads all conferences with nine players on the squad, followed by the Big Ten (6) and the Big 12 (5).
Here's the Big Ten's contingent:
- Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler
- Wisconsin center Peter Konz
- Wisconsin running back Montee Ball
- Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy
- Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus
- Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David
All six players are deserving candidates, but there are some snubs as well. The biggest one is Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still, selected the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year. Still was a huge presence in most of Penn State's victories this season. He should be on the list.
Konz gets the nod at center ahead of Michigan's David Molk, the Big Ten's Offensive Lineman of the Year. This is a tough call because Konz had an exceptional season but missed the final three games with an ankle injury. Molk was very, very good. I still don't know which player we'll put on our All-Big Ten team.
It would have been nice to see Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt on the list, but Justin Blackmon and Jordan White both are worthy selections.
The only other player getting surprisingly little love nationally is Nebraska kicker/punter Brett Maher, who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for both positions. I'm convinced that if Maher only kicked or punted, rather than doing both, he'd gain greater recognition. It's too bad.