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ESPN.com's 2010 All-Senior Big Ten team

1/24/2011

As we gear up for the Senior Bowl, I wanted to piggyback off of an excellent post by colleague Chris Low from last week.

It's time to identify an All-Big Ten team comprised only of seniors. There were easy picks like Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, but several positions created some tough choices.

Reminder: This team includes only fourth-year or fifth-year seniors, not redshirt juniors.

Bowl performance is included in this rundown, if applicable.

In case you forgot, my All-Big Ten team included only 12 seniors, all of whom will appear below. I also selected 14 underclassmen.

Without further ado ...

OFFENSE

QB: Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

RB: Evan Royster, Penn State

RB: Dan Dierking, Purdue

WR: Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State

WR: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa

TE: Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin

C: Bill Nagy, Wisconsin

T: Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin

T: D.J. Young, Michigan State

G: John Moffitt, Wisconsin

G: Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State

DEFENSE

DL: Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

DL: Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

DL: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State

DL: Karl Klug, Iowa

LB: Greg Jones, Michigan State

LB: Brian Rolle, Ohio State

LB: Eric Gordon, Michigan State

CB: Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State

CB: Chris L. Rucker, Michigan State

S: Jermale Hines, Ohio State

S: Brett Greenwood, Iowa

SPECIALISTS

K: Collin Wagner, Penn State

P: Aaron Bates, Michigan State

Returns: David Gilreath, Wisconsin

Some thoughts:

  • I really struggled with the quarterback spot. Tolzien ultimately made fewer mistakes than Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, who had superior statistics and had fewer weapons surrounding him. You can make a good case for Stanzi or Indiana's Ben Chappell, but Tolzien gets a slight edge.

  • No disrespect to Royster or Dierking, but the Big Ten really struggled to produce many decent senior running backs this season. Perhaps that's a promising sign for the future, but typically there are more experienced ball-carrying options. Royster was the only senior ranked among the Big Ten's top 10 rushers. I thought about Ohio State's Brandon Saine, but Dierking did more as a ball carrier.

  • The No. 3 linebacker was a really tough call between Gordon and Ohio State's Ross Homan. Ultimately, Homan missing time with a foot injury and Gordon displaying remarkable consistency alongside Greg Jones made Gordo the pick.

  • Another tough call was DJK ahead of Indiana's Terrance Turner, who had 21 more receptions but fewer yards and seven fewer touchdown catches.

  • The deepest position among Big Ten seniors (by far): offensive guard. I went with Moffitt and Carimi, but players like Ohio State's Justin Boren, Michigan's Stephen Schilling, Iowa's Julian Vandervelde and Illinois' Randall Hunt all were good options.

  • Five teams didn't produce selections: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern. Is that a good omen or a bad one for 2011?

Selections by team: Wisconsin (6), Ohio State (5), Michigan State (5), Iowa (4), Penn State (3), Purdue (2)