Michigan's Denard Robinson, Nebraska's Jared Crick labeled Big Ten's top offensive and defensive players in media poll
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.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
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.
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).
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.
Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.