Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham shares Silver Football award
Michigan defensive end Brandon GrahamÂ and Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark were named co-recipients of the Chicago Tribune's Silver Football awardÂ on Tuesday.
The award, voted on annually by Big Ten coaches, recognizes the league's most outstanding player.
Graham is the first defensive player to win the award since former Michigan cornerbackÂ Charles Woodson in 1997.
Graham and Clark received 3 first-place votes and 1 second-place vote each for 7 total points. Wisconsin running back John Clay, the other finalist, had 2 first-place votes and 5 points.
Graham led the nation with 26 tackles for loss and was a first-team all-conference selection, though Penn State's Jared Odrick was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year in a vote by coaches.
Clark threw for 2,787 yards and league-best 23 touchdowns.
Besides Graham and Woodson, Illinois defensive tackle Don Thorp (1983), Michigan State defensive tackle Larry Bethea, Michigan State (1977); Illinois linebacker Dick Butkus (1963), Illinois guard Bill Burrell (1959) and Wisconsin defensive end Dave Schreiner (1942) are the only other defenders to win the award.
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.