Projecting the 2014 All-B1G Team: Defense

By Jeff Beck on May 30, 2014 at 11:00a
25 Comments

Last week I took a look into the crystal ball to predict the 2014 All-Big Ten offense. This week let's read the tea leaves for the other side of the pigskin. Here are my way-too-early picks for the 2014 All-B1G defense.

DL: Shilique Calhoun – Michigan State

There’s no such thing as a “sure-thing” on a list like this, but Calhoun is about as close as you can get. The Spartan terror was a consensus All-B1G selection last season, was named the B1G defensive lineman of the year, and was selected as a Second Team All-American. The kid has a nose for the football, tying for first in the nation with three defensive touchdowns and second in the nation in fumble recoveries with four (two of which were returned for touchdowns). Calhoun finished the season with 37 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Look for him to build on those numbers in 2014.

DL: Noah Spence – Ohio State

Despite his suspension for the first two games of 2014, Spence is still

SPENCE
Spence in beast mode.

expected to be one of the best defensive linemen in college football. Noah lived in the backfield last season tallying 8 sacks (first on the team) and 14.5 tackles for loss (second on the squad). Against Penn State Spence went off notching three tackles for loss, two sacks and one forced fumble. The Buckeyes’ defensive line is predicted to be one of the best in the country this season, and Spence will absolutely be a leader on the unit.

DL: Joey Bosa – Ohio State

It’s hard to call a player rated the fourth-best defensive end prospect in the country a “surprise”, but that’s exactly what Bosa was last season. The Fort Lauderdale product started his freshman campaign as a backup but quickly proved his worth after an Adolphus Washington injury propelled him into the lineup. Bosa seized the opportunity and never looked back to the tune of 39 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss (third on the team) and 6.5 sacks (third on the team). Bosa only got stronger as the season went on, notching 4.5 sacks over the last five games of the year. With a second offseason in the Buckeye system, Bosa could be scary good in 2014.

DL: Randy Gregory – Nebraska

Gregory had a gang-buster sophomore season in 2013. The Indiana native finished the year with 66 tackles, 10.5 sacks (first in the conference and 15th nationally), and 19 tackles for loss (second in the conference). The performance earned him a first team All-B1G selection and a semi-finalist nod for the Hendricks Award given to the nation’s best defensive end. Against Michigan Gregory was unstoppable, notching 3 sacks and four tackles for loss. Those are the kinds of numbers that will get you noticed.

LB: Jake Ryan – Michigan

Big things were expected out of Ryan before the start of last season, but an ACL injury

Ryan
Will Ryan return to 2012 form?

in spring practice sidelined the team captain until the Wolverines’ sixth game. Despite the late start, Ryan tallied 30 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss. With a full offseason to get back into form, many expect Ryan to have a year similar to 2012 when he led the team in tackles (88), tackles for loss (16), and sacks (4.5).

LB: Mike Hull – Penn State

Hull had a solid 2013 notching 78 tackles (second on the team) and 4.5 tackles for loss despite missing two games due to injury. He’s already earning rave reviews from new Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator, Bob Shoop, who called him the “undisputed quarterback of the defense”. It’s easy to see why. Hull’s a smart kid who’s got a nose for the football and the speed to get to it. In fact, he’s so fast former coach Bill O’Brien played him as a nickel back in certain formations. With three-year starter, Glenn Carson, moving-on Hull will have every opportunity to make plays. If he does, look for his name on this list at season's end.

LB: Steve Longa – Rutgers

As a redshirt freshman in 2013 Longa started all 13 games at middle linebacker and

Longa
Longa's a player to watch this season.

did not disappoint. He led the team in tackles with 123 while also tallying 7.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. The performance earned him a First Team Freshman All-American nod and a ton of hype heading into this season. It’s hard to say if he’ll generate similar numbers in the B1G, but if he does he’s an All-Conference lock.

DB: Blake Countess – Michigan

Countess was named an All-B1G first teamer last season after tying for first in the conference with six interceptions including two against the Fighting Irish (a career high). In addition, Countess tallied 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and one interception returned for a touchdown. The Wolverines will look to Countess to be a leader on the defense in 2014.

DB: Trae Waynes – Michigan State

With the departure of All-American, Darqueze Dennard, the keys to the Spartan “No Fly Zone” will be handed over to Waynes. By the end of last season, Waynes was splitting coverage responsibilities with Dennard on opposing teams’ top receivers. This year that weight will fall solely on Waynes' shoulders, and he appears to be up to the challenge. Trae tallied 50 tackles last season and three interceptions including one against Stanford in the Spartans' Rose Bowl appearance. Teams will attempt to challenge him early. It’s up to Waynes to prove that’s a terrible idea.

S: Kurtis Drummond – Michigan State

Drummond earned first team All-B1G honors last year after tallying a career high 91

Drummond
Drummond will look to patrol the no fly zone.

tackles including 3.5 tackles for loss. His four interceptions tied for the team lead and pegged him third in the conference. The kid is a pure athlete as evidenced by this disgusting interception against Western Michigan last season. There’s no reason Drummond wont make this list if he has a season similar to 2013.

S: Sean Davis – Maryland

As a sophomore, Davis started all 13 games and recorded a team-high 102 tackles, averaging nearly 8 per game (ninth in the ACC). Davis saved his best for the best, notching 12 tackles against eventual national champion, Florida State. Anytime a player goes over 100 tackles in a season it’s a special year. If Davis does it again he’ll be an all-conference selection in Maryland’s inaugural B1G season.

P: Cameron Johnston - Ohio State

The Buckeyes didn’t punt a lot last season, but when they did it was solid. Johnston (an Australian Rules Football vet) punted 49 times for an average of 44 yards (first in the conference and 14th in the country). With the departure of Purdue's first team All-Conference punter, Cody Webster, this honor is Johnston’s to lose.

25 Comments

Comments

otrain2416's picture

Great list dispite it being so early. I would say other guys for us to keep an eye on that could realistically be on this list or second team BIG 10 depending on staying healthy and being productive: Washington-DL, Bennett-DL, Doran Grant-DB, Vonn Bell- DB

+4 HS
BuckeyeNationforLife's picture

I'd love to see Bosa, Spence and Bennett on the first team with Washington on second team. The scary part is that that's a realistic possibility.

+2 HS
zhamilton05's picture

The line would have to truly dominate the B1G in order to get 3/4 of its members on the 1st-team. Part of me thinks Spence is not going to be as productive as Bennett, but at the same time, opponents might give Spence some space in order to double-team Bosa. I say Bosa is a lock, and whichever of Bennett or Spence gets the sexier stats (sacks, TFL, FF, etc.) will get another 1st-team slot.

-1 HS
chicagobuckeye's picture

Spence will easily get the "sexier" stats. He is a DE. Bennett won't get stats you see, but stuffing a run up the middle for 1 to 2 yards or eating up blocks for spence, Washington or bosa. Scouts love it, but it's not sexy. 

stittracer99's picture

I gotta think Bennett will be right in that mix. Hard to argue with any of the guys you picked though. It will be interesting to watch how it all shakes out

+2 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

Considering he's popping up as a 1st round pick for early mock drafts, it's hard to imagine he can't make the All-B1G team next season. 

+3 HS
CC's picture

One could argue he is the third best DL on his own team behind Bosa (clear #1 IMO) and Spence.

+1 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

You could make that argument, but I think you'd lose it. The talk from all of the D linemen and coaches in Spring ball is that Bennett is the leader of that line, and when healthy, the best linemen on the team.

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

+2 HS
CC's picture

Are you saying Bennett is better than Bosa?  I could see Spence.

Joel Hale was billed as a senior leader going into last year...  Bosa leads by example.

-2 HS
buck-I.8's picture

Bosa is better at getting to QB, and making big plays in that regard. But Bennett eats blocks, stuffs runs, and pressures the QB on practically every down that he plays. It's really apples and oranges comparing the two, which is not to say that they aren't both very talented individually. 

tussey's picture

It will be interesting to see if one of our LBs kills it this year.  I could see whoever is playing the Will (formerly Sam) racking up a ton of tackles this year due to all the spread offenses.  

southbay's picture

I think you are talking about Josh Perry?  I think he has a chance.  At least, I think he will be a busy guy.

tussey's picture

well if you look at the spring game (which is probably not the best sampling) it seemed as if lee and worley were making a ton of plays which is the Sam linebacker spot.  Perry took over the Will.  The new defense against spread teams reminds me of when Hines was killing it at the nickel (viper?) spot and I can see lee/worley have the same effect.

BucksfanXC's picture

DL in the B1G is deep. Which is a good sign of the times, IMHO.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+1 HS
TheTeam16's picture

Honestly think Frank CLark will grab one of the DL spots, ignoring my football allegiance. If he does not I think this list is fairly accurate.

 

Curt Heinrichs's picture

That INT by Drummond was unbelievable. How did I not see that before today? 

+1 HS
jpbuckeye's picture

Looking forward to time when we see some Buckeyes in the LB group as well as the secondary.

 

Oh hell I will freely admit my bias: I want the All B1G to consist of Buckeyes and only Buckeyes!

On that note: GO BUCKS!

Hovenaut's picture

I think Coach Tressel would be proud of these ch-OI!-ces.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

RBuck's picture

Would be happier than a pig in poop to see an OSU DB actually named all B1G at season's end.

Make that two.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

+2 HS
Crumb's picture

I hate Jake Ryan, I think I hate him more than Lewan. And I think it's because he's a wanna be AJ Hawk playing in those horrendous colors.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

-1 HS
Tom57's picture

All of the DL are DE's. Might happen, but I think at least one DT makes the list.

 

Also agree that I despise Ryan, but it's really envy that we didn't get him. I'd love that kid in S&G.
 

+1 HS
bleedscarlet's picture

B1G offensive lines will have their work cut out for them this year.

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken

-1 HS
Knarcisi's picture

What ya gonna do ... When our D Line runs all over you ?!?

Seattle Linga's picture

I am so excited to watch our front 4 - 7 this upcoming season. Gonna be a nice turn-around from what we've seen lately. Don't get me wrong I know we won't have RDS back but the development of our young lineman will remind me of some of the D-line in the 90's.