Big Ten honors announced
For the first time since it joined the conference in 1993, Penn State does not have a player among the first-team All-Big Ten picks.
The Nittany Lions (3-9, 1-7) earned just two second-team selections — sophomore cornerback Alan Zemaitis and senior safety Yaacov Yisrael.
Also, senior linebacker Gino Capone and senior corner Richard Gardner were given honorable-mention status.
Zemaitis was chosen to the second team by a panel of media who cover the league. A first-year starter, Zemaitis led the Big Ten and ranked sixth nationally with 22 passes defended, including 18 break-ups. He topped the team with four interceptions.
Yisrael was picked by a poll of the conference’s coaches. He started every game this season after missing all of 2002 with a knee injury. He was second on the team with 93 tackles (57 solo), and made three interceptions.
Penn State had at least two first-team All-Big Ten players in every year except 2001, when Jimmy Kennedy was its only top choice. It put seven players on the first team in 1994 and six in ’99.
Tailback Chris Perry of Michigan was named the league’s offensive player of the year by the coaches and media. Defensive end Will Smith of Ohio State is the consensus defensive player of the year.
The coaches chose Michigan’s Steve Breaston (Woodland Hills) and Minnesota’s Laurence Maroney as co-freshmen of the year. The media opted to give the award to Maroney.
The media named John L. Smith of Michigan State as coach of the year.