Earlier this week, we released our All-Big Ten team. So, as is tradition, we’re following that up with our conference All-Freshman team.
Because of a smaller player pool, the main difference with this team is that we’re sticking with the generic positions of offensive line, defensive line and defensive back rather than the specific positions. We’ve also decided to eschew tight end in favor of an additional receiver.
QB Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin: He won the starting job after Week 3 and put together a respectable freshman campaign by throwing eight touchdowns to seven interceptions. He’ll be the man in Madison moving forward.
RB Mike Weber, Ohio State: As Big Ten freshman of the year, Weber was maybe the easiest choice on this team. He became just the third Ohio State freshman to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards.
RB Chris Evans, Michigan: He was initially expected to redshirt this season, but Evans showed early on he was a speedy playmaker who could do work in space. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry.
WR K.J. Hill, Ohio State: Hill led all Big Ten receivers (minimum 15 catches) by catching 77.3 percent of the passes thrown his way.
WR Jawuan Harris, Rutgers: In a tough season, Harris was definitely a bright spot for the Scarlet Knights. He paced the team with 39 catches and 481 yards, both highs for Big Ten freshmen.
OL Coy Cronk, Indiana: He started in 12 straight games -- at left tackle.
OL Ryan Bates, Penn State: Not only has Bates started every game for Penn State, but his versatility has proved invaluable. He started 10 games at left guard and the final three at left tackle.
DL Nick Bosa, Ohio State: You know you’re doing a good job when, as a true freshman, you live up to the expectations of being Joey Bosa's brother. The younger Bosa currently ranks second among Buckeyes with five sacks.
DL Anthony Nelson, Iowa: The Hawkeyes needed a pass-rusher, and they got that and more in Nelson. He left an immediate impression by registering 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the opener.
DL Kevin Givens, Penn State: Back in the spring, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin dubbed him the “buzz of camp.” Givens didn’t let up; he currently has seven tackles for loss.
DL Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State: He leads all Buckeyes defensive linemen with 47 tackles.
LB Markus Bailey, Purdue: He almost became the first Boilermakers linebacker since 2008 to record 100 tackles. He finished with a team-high 97 stops and four interceptions.
LB Tyreek Maddox-Williams, Rutgers: The New Jersey native filled in admirably for senior Greg Jones, who suffered a career-ending neck injury. Said head coach Chris Ash: “I really like Tyreek’s future.”
DB Marcelino Ball, Indiana: The hybrid safety won’t turn 18 years old until March, but he’s already part of the defensive renaissance in Bloomington. He boasts 73 tackles and seven pass breakups.
DB Trae Williams, Northwestern: He missed some time because of injury, but he still started in seven games. He was the Wildcats’ defensive player of the week against Duke.
DB Patrick Nelson, Illinois: He played only special teams the first two games, but he still ended up third on Illinois with 75 tackles. In his first career start, against Nebraska, he had 16 stops.
DB Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota: The son of the former Buckeye made several key plays for the Gophers, recovering a game-sealing fumble against Purdue and returning a Maryland interception 82 yards for a touchdown.
K Keith Duncan, Iowa: His stats were pretty darn good -- 8-of-9 on field goals and 38-of-39 on PATs -- but Duncan was also clutch for the Hawkeyes. He hit the winning, 33-yard field goal as time expired against Michigan.
P Blake Gillikin, Penn State: He received a standing ovation after his first career punt, and he has only gotten better. That should tell you all you need to know.
KR Tre Bryant, Nebraska: Bryant averaged 22.1 yards per return and also registered a 59-yard return against Purdue, the longest by a Husker since Ameer Abdullah in 2014.