Big Ten: Nick Reed

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

In this blogger's humble opinion, defensive end was the Big Ten's strongest position this season. The people who run the Ted Hendricks Award seem to agree.

Penn State's Aaron Maybin and Indiana's Jammie Kirlew are among the six finalists for the Hendricks Award, which will be presented to the nation's top defensive end on Dec. 10. 

Maybin led the Big Ten and tied for fourth nationally in sacks (12). The dynamic sophomore who didn't even begin the season as a starter ranks seventh nationally in tackles for loss (19). 

Kirlew, a junior, led the Big Ten and ties for fifth nationally in tackles for loss (19.5). He ranks second in the league behind Maybin in sacks (10.5), recording a sack in six of his final eight games. 

Both Maybin and Kirlew earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media. 

The Big Ten was the only conference with multiple players on the list of the Hendricks Award finalists, which also includes Florida State's Everette Brown, TCU's Jerry Hughes, Texas' Brian Orakpo and Oregon's Nick Reed. 

For a league that takes a ton of criticism nationally, the Big Ten continues to represent well for the national awards. 

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Walter Camp Award watch list is out, and seven Big Ten players are included on the list of 35.

Here's the rundown:

Travis Beckum, Sr., TE, Wisconsin

Arrelious Benn, So., WR, Illinois

P.J. Hill, Jr., RB, Wisconsin

Malcolm Jenkins, Sr., CB, Ohio State

James Laurinaitis, Sr., LB, Ohio State

Javon Ringer, Sr., RB, Michigan State

Chris "Beanie" Wells, Jr., RB, Ohio State

No surprising names here, though every other BCS conference has a quarterback representative. The Walter Camp Football Foundation could have included Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter, who could break several Big Ten passing records this fall. Ohio State's Todd Boeckman doesn't have a huge wow factor but could change that this fall. Indiana's Kellen Lewis is fighting for his starting job after being suspended this spring, and Illinois' Juice Williams still gets knocked for his passing.

Laurinaitis is the only two-time first-team Walter Camp All-American on the list, while Beckum earned first-team honors last season.

Only three defensive linemen made the list -- Auburn's Sen'Derrick Marks, Oregon's Nick Reed and South Florida's George Selvie -- so national sacks leader Greg Middleton from Indiana evidently needs another strong season to generate more hype.

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