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Posted on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

Michigan's Denard Robinson, Nebraska's Jared Crick labeled Big Ten's top offensive and defensive players in media poll

By Kyle Meinke

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is the preseason Big Ten offensive player of the year in a poll of 24 media members.

Nebraska lineman Jared Crick was named the league’s preseason defensive player of the year in results announced Monday of the first Big Ten Preseason Newspaper Poll.


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is the preseason Big Ten Conference offensive player of the year in a poll of 24 media members.

Melanie Maxwell |

The voting takes the place of the old poll conducted at the conference’s media days, which the Big Ten scrapped at the behest of the coaches.

Robinson was tabbed by the coaches and media as the conference’s postseason offensive player of the year last year after he became the first quarterback in NCAA history to run for 1,500 yards.

He earned 14 of 24 first-place votes going into this season. He appeared on 21 of 24 ballots, and his 52 points doubled the total of Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa, who finished second.

Persa (four), Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins (two) and Wisconsin newcomer Russell Wilson (two) all earned first-place votes from the quarterback position.

Running backs Edwin Baker of Michigan State and Montee Ball of Wisconsin each earned one first-place vote.

Robinson finished with 1,702 rushing yards on 256 attempts last year — an average of 6.6 yards per carry, a breathtaking clip for a rushing quarterback.


Results of the Big Ten Preseason Newspaper Poll, scored on a 3-2-1 point system with 24 media members picking a top three. First-place votes in parenthesis:

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (14) 52
2. Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern (4) 26
3. Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State (2) 18
4. Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State (1) 16
5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (1) 14
6. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin (2) 9
7. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska 4
8. James White, RB, Wisconsin 2
9. Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State 2
10. Derek Moye, WR, Penn State 1

He is expected to run less this year as he transitions from the spread-option attack of former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez to the pro-style formations of new coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges.

Borges has said he expects to run some spread packages, although Robinson will be under center for most snaps. Former Michigan great and current ESPN analyst Desmond Howard said earlier this month Robinson told him he was “85 percent comfortable” in the new offense.

Robinson, a junior from Deerfield Beach, Fla., was 182-for-291 passing for 2,570 yards and 18 touchdowns. He had 11 picks and a passer rating of 149.6.

Robinson also has been named to the watch list for the Walter Camp Award (player of the year), Maxwell Award (best overall player) and Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback).


Results of the Big Ten Preseason Newspaper Poll, scored on a 3-2-1 point system with 24 media members picking a top three. First-place votes in parenthesis:

1. Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska (15) 58
2. Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska (7) 37
3. Jerel Worthy, DL, Michigan State 10
4. Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa (1) 8
5. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska (1) 7
6. John Simon, DL, Ohio State 6
7. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State 5
8. Mike Martin, DL, Michigan 3
9. Nathan Williams, DL, Ohio State 2

Nebraska, entering its first season of Big Ten play, has made its presence known in the league’s preseason media voting. The Cornhuskers earlier today were named the overwhelming favorite to win the Legends division, and a slim favorite over Wisconsin to win the overall league title.

Now, they placed three players in the top five for defensive player of the year.

Crick earned 15 first-place votes and 58 overall points to beat out runner-up and teammate Lavonte David, a linebacker who had seven first-place votes and 37 points.

Another Cornhusker, Alfonzo Dennard, had seven points to finish fifth.

Michigan State lineman Jerel Worthy was third with 10 points. Michigan’s Mike Martin finished eighth with three points.

The two-day Big Ten Conference football meetings begin Thursday in Chicago.

Related: Nebraska named Big Ten football favorite in media poll

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

I wish I knew where Nebraska keeps getting these great defensive players from. They're like a factory of top defensive talent to the NFL. I think Mattison and Hoke can eventually get us to that level too. But, it's exciting to see Denard recognized. I think if he can step up his passing skills this years, it will be huge for Michigan.

Wally the Wolverine

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

These newspaper polls aren't fit for lining a birdcage. Don't these dadgum writers know we put the maize in "corn"husker? That durned photo is downright blasphemous - git it outta here!


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

He likes this team a little more than he's letting on? Hoke begged Brandon to hire him for 3 months while Brandon offered the job to everybody he could find. I think you like your sister a little more than you are letting on.

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

Really? Show concrete evidence that Dave Brandon offered the job to ANYONE else. Both Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles have stated that they were never offered the job. But, I think you misinterpreted what Hailmary was saying anyway. I believe the intent was that Brady Hoke thinks the team is going to be better than he will publicly admit. That he likes their chances of being good.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

All things considered, I like the position Mich. finds themselves in this year. Now all of a sudden everyone is going to be gunning for Nebraska and although they are probably a darn good team I don't see them as a great team at this point. I don't necessarily see Mich. in the spoiler role this year but they could be a slippery team with all that speed. I personnaly think Brady likes this team more than he lets on.