Junior defensive end Shareef Miller, sophomore defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and senior cornerback Amani Oruwariye each earned All-Big Ten honors on Tuesday, as voted on by the media and the coaches. Oruwariye was named to the first-team by the media and the coaches. Gross-Matos was a first-team selection by the media and a third-team selection by the coaches. Miller was a third-team selection by the media and the coaches.
Despite some early-season struggles, Penn State's defense finished the 2018 regular season as one of the very best in the entire country. We'll get into the specifics of how that change occurred as we move forward into bowl prep season and the offseason, but the numbers don't lie.
One of the biggest reasons for the improvement was how well they performed against the pass, which of course boils down to pass rush and coverage. Miller, Gross-Matos, and Oruwariye were keys in this effort.
Gross-Matos finished the regular season with a ridiculous 20 tackles for loss to go with eight sacks. Oruwariye earned his spot on the back of his three interceptions and 12 pass breakups. Miller built on a breakout 2017 with seven sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
Several Nittany Lions were named honorable mentions, as well. Defensive tackle Robert Windsor, safety Garrett Taylor, and cornerback John Reid were named by the coaches. Windsor, Taylor, Reid, safety Nick Scott, and linebacker Micah Parsons were named by the coaches.