The Big Ten on Tuesday announced several of its posteseason awards, and a more diverse haul will be difficult to find than what Michigan’s Jabril Peppers accumulated during his junior season in Ann Arbor.
The surefire first-round linebacker pick — should he choose to declare early — took home three awards, two of which being the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year honor and the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year trophy. However, the versatile defender supplemented those two with a rare triple, adding the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year award despite, you know, playing linebacker.
Joining Peppers in claiming a marquee award in the 14-team conference were Penn State and Wisconsin coaches James Franklin and Paul Chryst, who each took home Coach of the Year honors — Franklin won the media vote, Chryst being the coaches’ choice.
Peppers’ diverse resume includes 16.0 tackles for loss, 170 yards of offense, a 14.8-yard punt-return average with a touchdown propping that up, and three sacks. He’s the first Wolverine to win this award since Larry Foote in 2006 and fourth overall to do so.
Michigan and Ohio State split the other defensive awards, with Buckeyes defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis taking home the Big Ten’s top lineman honor and Wolverines defensive back Jourdan Lewis being named the top secondary cog in the conference. Lewis gives the Buckeyes the third straight award here, with Joey Bosa winning the past two.
Franklin guided the Nittany Lions into the Big Ten championship game, with their upset of Ohio State throwing a wrench into the conference table. Chryst has the Badgers facing them this week after the Ohio State-Michigan-themed season ended up sending neither to the league’s championship showcase.