The Big Ten Conference announced today its inaugural football Players to Watch list, with 12 players earning preseason recognition. Big Ten coaches voted to institute a preseason Players to Watch list beginning this season, honoring five student-athletes each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division. The 2011 list was selected by a media panel and features additional honorees due to a tie.
Representing the Legends Division areMichiganquarterback Denard Robinson,MichiganStatequarterback Kirk Cousins,Nebraskadefensive tackle Jared Crick and linebacker Lavonte David and Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa. The Leaders Division honorees areIllinoisquarterback Nathan Scheelhaase,Indianawide receiverDamarlo Belcher,OhioState center Mike Brewster and defensive tackle John Simon,PennStatelinebacker Michael Mauti andWisconsinrunning backs Montee Ball and James White.
All five Legends Division players received postseason recognition in 2010, with Robinson, Crick and David earning All-America honors and first-team All-Conference accolades. Robinson was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year while David was tabbed the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Persa was also named first-team All-Big Ten while Cousins was an honorable mention All-Conference choice.
The group of Leaders Division standouts includes five All-Conference selections from 2010. Brewster earned All-America accolades and first-team All-Big Ten honors. White was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a second-team All-Conference selection. Belcher, Simon and Ball were each All-Big Ten honorable mention selections.