It's Dillo Day! And I'm posting from yesterday, when I wrote this post, because well, it's dillo day and I ain't bloggin.
Phli Steele released his All-Big Ten preseason teams, and 10 Cats made one of the top four teams, including two selections for the first team. That ten puts NU behind Ohio State and Penn State, but unless I messed up my reading, nobody else. (It's Dillo Day, forgive my math). However, no NU players were selected for Steele's four all-American teams, which is a bummer.
Let's do a rundown.
Dan Persa, QB: Well, this isn't really surprising to anybody, as he was first team all-Big Ten last year, even with competition from a really strong stock of QB's including Scott Tolzien, Ricky Stanzi, and, well, Terrelle Pryor and Denard Robinson. (Pryor isn't on there presumably because of OSU-gate, Robinson is on the third team.
Vince Browne, DE: Again, no qualms here. Browne is a beast and we all know that. He's a senior and was the only competent player on the defensive squad for portions of last year, he's primed to kill it, damn near all-American status, this year. Teams are going to gang up on him like they once did on Corey Wootton, but they did that this year and it didn't really matter.
Jeremy Ebert, WR: This seems like a bit of a snub to me. He was first team all-conference last year, and let's be real, it wasn't really close, as he was the best receiver statistically in the conference. But Steele values Damarlo Belcher, Marvin McNutt, and Derek Moye over him, apparently, as they all made first team.
Drake Dunsmore, TE: No, he's not a tight end, but he also can't be tackled. So that makes him second-team, behind Nebraska's Kyler Reed, about whom I know nothing.
Al Netter, OT: Everybody knows Netter's been one of the most solid tackles in the conference. The offensive line is really weak, which keeps NU from having a run game, but Netter does his job on the left side making sure Dan Persa doesn't get blindsided. (Note where he gets sacked from. It's generally breakdowns in the middle of the line.)
Venric Mark, KR: Let me put it this way: get used to seeing Venric Mark on these lists. Really fast. Like, seriously, faster than you think. Almost as fast as Venric Mark.
Brian Peters, S: He can catch things with one hand and return things for touchdowns. I haven't typically thought of Peters as a top-tier safety, but he does a good job stepping up with all of the enormous breakdowns in NU's front seven, and it shows on the statsheet.
Nobody. We ain't on that bronze nonsense.
Ben Burkett, C: Steele slots Burkett in as the second center on his fourth team alongside Wisconsin's Peter Konz, which is sort of a huge copout, but I guess there aren't that many good guards in the Big Ten.
Venric Mark, PR: THE RETURNER SO NICE THEY HONORED HIM TWICE. My point earlier is that Venric is on here, you know, twice, He's the only guy in the conference honored as both a kick and punt returner, and to be honest, he deserves it. Mark only returned nine punts this year, but he busted out a 58-yarder against Illinois that to be honest, I completely forgot about until just now. Definitely NU's best return man since Brendan Smith off of punts, and, to be honest, he's way better.
Jordan Mabin, CB: He led the conference in passes deflected last season, but, well, didn't pick that many off, with his only pick going for six against Texas Tech in the bowl game. If he holds on to some passes instead of just deflecting them, he'll be higher up on this list at the end of the year.
Brandon Williams, P: A Northwestern punter on an honorary list? What in the name of Demos? To be honest, he could be higher, NU was second in a lot of punting categories in the conference last year and that's all on Williams a year after NU was, well, dead last.