<
>

Northwestern's 'All-Century' team: Best lineup since 2000

With a week left until we talk about the upcoming season -- Big Ten media days -- we’re scrambling for some actual football discussion. So, to borrow an idea from our pals at the Pac-12 blog, we’re putting together the “All-Century” teams for every Big Ten school.

These are the top lineups each team could field consisting of players who have played since 2000. Next up is Northwestern.

OFFENSE

QB Brett Basanez: He holds nearly every major Northwestern passing record -- such as career TDs (T-44) and passing yards (10,580) -- and shared 2005 B1G Offensive Player of the Year honors.

RB Damien Anderson: A dislocated shoulder hindered his senior campaign, but as a junior he rushed for a school-record 2,063 yards.

RB Tyrell Sutton: No Northwestern running back has run for more yards since 2000, and Sutton may have been the most versatile in that group. He also finished with 149 career receptions. Justin Jackson could soon unseat him on this “All-Century” team, however.

WR Jeremy Ebert: He’s third all-time in career catches (173) and yards (2,400).

WR Eric Peterman: He was one of two overall team MVPs in 2007 and led Northwestern in receiving for two seasons.

TE Dan Vitale: The superback played in 50 career games, blocked well and finished with 135 catches and 11 touchdowns.

OL Zach Strief: The former All-American was taken in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL draft -- and he’s still in the NFL. Strief already has played in 140 career games.

OL Trai Essex: He moved from tight end to tackle and started 37 career games before eventually being taken in the third round of the NFL draft.

OL Austin King: He was a three-time honorable mention on the All-B1G team and played a critical role in 2000, when Northwestern led the conference in scoring offense.

OL Leon Brockmeier: He played on the last Northwestern squad to win a B1G title and was second-team all-conference. He passed away from natural causes in 2012 at the age of 34

OL Jeff Roehl: A Notre Dame transfer, Roehl became a three-year starter and 2002 all-conference selection.

DEFENSE

DL Tyler Scott: He became the first Northwestern defender in more than 20 years to earn back-to-back team MVP honors.

DL Corey Wootton: Since 2000, no Wildcat has surpassed his 38 career tackles-for-loss or 19.5 sacks.

DL Luis Castillo: He finished his career with 251 career tackles and was drafted No. 28 overall by the San Diego Chargers.

DL Vince Browne: A 2010 All-B1G selection, only Wootton has more career sacks and tackles-for-loss since 2000.

LB Anthony Walker: Sure, he’s just a returning redshirt junior. But he’s already received All-America recognition, and Pat Fitzgerald said “he has a chance to be the best we’ve ever had.”

LB Tim McGarigle: He holds the official FBS record for career tackles (545).

LB Napoleon Harris: A two-time All-B1G selection, Harris was a first-round NFL draft pick in 2002.

DB Sherrick McManis: The former first-team All-B1G cornerback is currently entering his seventh season in the NFL.

DB Brian Peters: Since 2000, no Wildcat has surpassed Peters’ 11 career interceptions.

DB Nick VanHoose: He was a two-time all-conference selection and was part of the 2015 defense that allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the nation.

DB Brad Phillips: He started in 34 games and finished his senior campaign with 86 tackles en route to being named first-team All-B1G.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Jeff Budzien: Not only is he Northwestern’s all-time scoring leader, but the former All-American is also tops all-time when it comes to field-goal accuracy (87.3 percent).

P J.J. Standring: He boasts the fourth-best punting season (2001: 43.1 yards per punt) in school history and, since 2000, no one has a better overall punting average.

KR/PR Venric Mark: He transferred weeks before his senior season, when he was set to be suspended two games, but he’s still the Wildcats’ all-time leader in punt return average (16.3 yards) by more than a yard.