While Iowa’s Desmond King expected a repeat performance in the secondary, Jaleel Johnson grew into the first-team all-Big Ten defensive lineman he was recognized as Tuesday.
“I’ve done what I can to play my best ball this year,’’ the senior tackle said last week. “I’ve tried to bring my best every day to practice, to every game. That’s been my objective all season, to be the best player I can be. To be recognized would mean a lot to me.’’
The Big Ten honored its top defenders and specialists on Tuesday, announcing all-conference selections in those areas. Offensive players will receive recognition today.
King became the Hawkeyes’ first two-time first-team all-Big Ten defensive back since Shaun Prater in 2010 and 2011, earning recognition on teams selected by both the league’s coaches and a media panel. The senior from Detroit recorded 53 tackles, seven pass break ups and two interceptions this season.
He also earned second team honors as a return specialist after averaging 9.8 yards on 25 punt returns and 27.2 yards on 25 kick returns to rank among Big Ten leaders in both areas.
Johnson was a first-team pick of conference coaches and a second-team choice of the media. An honorable mention choice a year ago, the senior from Lombard, Illinois, led Iowa with 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss.
Linebacker Josey Jewell earned second-team honors for the second straight year. The Big Ten leader with 114 tackles and team leader with eight pass breakups, a junior from Decorah, Iowa, recorded double-digit tackle totals six times.
Ron Coluzzi, a graduate transfer, who handled kickoffs and punting duties in addition to serving as a holder, was awarded third-team honors as a punter. The Naperville, Illinois, native averaged 41.2 yards per punt, recording 13 of 50 yards or more and placing 22 of 68 inside the 20-yard line.
Three Hawkeyes, defensive end Parker Hesse, cornerback Greg Mabin and tackle Nathan Bazata, received honorable mention.
Illinois defensive ends Carroll Phillips and Dawuane Smoot received all-Big Ten honors as well.
Phillips was a first-team choice of the media, the first Illini player to earn first-team recognition since A.J. Jenkins and Whitney Merceilus in 2011, while Smoot was a third-team selection.
The Big Ten handed out a number of individual awards as well, with Paul Chryst of Wisconsin selected as the league’s coach of the year by his peers and James Franklin of Penn State receiving the same honor from the media.
Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers was named as the Big Ten defensive player of the year, linebacker of the year and return specialist of the year. Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis was selected as the lineman of the year and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis was the defensive back of the year.
Emmit Carpenter of Minnesota was recognized as the kicker of the year and Cameron Johnston of Ohio State was named the punter of the year.