Tommy Eichenberg, Zach Harrison and JT Tuimoloau Earn First-Team All-Big Ten Honors; Mike Hall Jr., Ronnie Hickman and Noah Ruggles Earn Third-Team Recognition

By Dan Hope on November 29, 2022 at 12:31 pm
Zach Harrison and Tommy Eichenberg
Matthew O’Haren – USA TODAY Sports

Three Ohio State defensive players earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for their performance during the 2022 regular season.

Tommy Eichenberg was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten linebacker by both Big Ten coaches and the conference’s panel of media voters. JT Tuimoloau was also selected by coaches as a first-team All-Big Ten defensive lineman while fellow defensive end Zach Harrison was a first-team selection by the media (Harrison was a second-team selection by coaches and Tuimoloau was a second-team selection by media).

Ohio State safety Ronnie Hickman received third-team honors from both the coaches and media while defensive tackle Mike Hall Jr. also made the media third team.

Defensive end Jack Sawyer, defensive tackle Tyleik Williams, linebacker Steele Chambers, cornerback Denzel Burke and safeties Lathan Ransom and Tanner McCalister were all selected as All-Big Ten honorable mentions, meaning they received votes from either the coaches or media but not enough to earn first-, second- or third-team honors.

Special teams honors were also announced by the Big Ten on Tuesday. Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles earned a third-team selection from the media while punter Jesse Mirco was selected as an honorable mention.

The offensive players on this year’s All-Big Ten teams will be announced Wednesday.

Eichenberg earns first-team honors from both voting panels after a spectacular regular season in which he emerged as one of college football’s best linebackers. The Buckeyes’ starting middle linebacker recorded 112 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups and a pick-six over the course of OSU’s 12 regular-season contests.

Tuimoloau earns first-team honors from the coaches amid a productive sophomore season in which he has recorded 28 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and four sacks. He had one of the best individual defensive performances in Ohio State history in the Buckeyes’ road win at Penn State, in which he forced four turnovers with two interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown), a fumble he recovered himself and a tipped pass that was intercepted by Harrison.

Harrison has played the best football of his Ohio State career in his senior year. He has recorded 30 total tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, four pass breakups and the aforementioned interception while his disruption has gone beyond the plays that show up on the stat sheet.

Hickman has been the leader of Ohio State’s secondary after moving to free safety this season. While his numbers haven’t been as big as 2021, when he recorded 100 total tackles compared to only 51 in 2022, he’s been the Buckeyes’ most consistent defensive back in pass coverage and is graded by Pro Football Focus as the nation’s fifth-best safety for the 2022 season.

Hall looked like a potential first-team All-Big Ten performer early in the season, as he recorded 7.5 tackles for loss in Ohio State’s first six games, but he recorded only six total tackles with zero tackles for loss in the second half of the regular season as he moved into a backup role behind starting defensive tackles Taron Vincent and Ty Hamilton. Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said earlier this month that Hall “has really battled injuries,” which played a part in his reduced role.

Ruggles has continued to be one of college football’s most reliable kickers in his second year at Ohio State, making 15 of his 17 field goal attempts and all but one of his 70 extra point attempts.

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