As award season continues to progress, members of the 10-2 Penn State football team continue to rack up the honors. On Wednesday, the AP announced its picks for its all Big-Ten team. Six Nittany Lions found their way onto the rosters, led by first-team linebacker Micah Parsons.
Wide receiver/all-purpose player KJ Hamler, offensive guard Steven Gonzalez, tight end Pat Freiermuth, defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, and defensive tackle Robert Windsor were all second-team selections.
Parsons, Gross-Matos, and Windsor were all key cogs on what was one of the strongest Penn State defenses in years, as they were one of the best in the country at limiting opposing running games and keeping opponents off of the scoreboard. Parsons led the team with 95 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Gross-Matos, who is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, led the team with 8 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. Windsor's numbers weren't as prolific as a year ago, but his impact was arguably even greater in 2019. He still accounted for 2.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss.
Hamler was the most dangerous player on the offense for Penn State, accumulating 887 scrimmage yards on 54 receptions and found the end zone eight times. Gonzalez was a key figure on an offensive line that took strides forward and opened up a ton of running room for breakout star Journey Brown as the season wore on. Freiermuth, who tied Mike Gesicki's Penn State record for touchdown receptions by a tight end, finished with 468 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns on 41 catches. He was the most reliable weapon the offense had and is primed for a massive 2020 that could vault him into the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ohio State dominated the selections, with eight players named to the first team, and six more named to the second team. Head coach Ryan Day was named the Coach of the Year, while Heisman finalists Justin Fields and Chase Young were the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year selections, respectively.
The Buckeyes led the way with their 14 total selections, followed by Penn State with six. Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa each had five players selected, and Wisconsin had four.