The Big Ten Conference announced its 2012 award winners and all-conference teams this evening and Ohio State Buckeyes, off a 12-0 regular season, are well represented among the honorees. Senior defensive end John Simon was named the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year and sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller was named the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year. Those two were among seven Buckeyes who were named first-team all-Big Ten with another eight players being named either second-team or honorable mention all-Big Ten.
In addition to Miller and Simon, those picked by either the coaches or the media on the first teams were sophomore defensive back Bradley Roby, junior defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins, junior guard Andrew Norwell, sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier and senior defensive back Travis Howard.
A quartet of juniors were named to the all-Big Ten second teams: running back Carlos Hyde, left tackle Jack Mewhort, safety Christian Bryant and receiver Corey Brown.
Named honorable mention all-Big Ten were junior safety C.J. Barnett, junior center Corey Linsley, senior tackle Reid Fragel and senior linebacker Etienne Sabino.
And senior linebacker Zach Boren, who selflessly switched positions just past mid season, from starting fullback to starting linebacker, was honored with a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
"I am happy for all of the members of this team who are being honored, and also for their teammates, whose hard work helped these guys earn this Big Ten recognition," coach Urban Meyer said. "It is a tribute to the work ethic of both John Simon and Braxton Miller, coupled with the fact that they are both excellent football players, that they were named players of the year at their positions."
One of eight semifinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, Simon led the Big Ten in quarterback sacks (9.0 for minus-73 yards) and ranked third with 14.5 TFL for minus-87 yards – both Top 25 marks nationally. He was named the Bednarik, Lott IMPACT and Performance Award national defensive player of the week after a school-record tying 5.0 TFLs (2.0 sacks) for minus-24 yards and forced a fumble vs. Nebraska. He also turned in a dominating performance in the overtime win at Wisconsin with 4.0 sacks for minus-36 yards. He ranks seventh all-time at Ohio State in TFLs and sacks and was only the eighth two-time captain in Ohio State history.
Miller, a Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award finalist and one of the Walter Camp Award's 15 "players to watch," was second in the Big Ten in total offense at 275.8 yards per game – topping 300 yards of total offense five times, tying the school record. He threw for 2,039 yards and 15 TDs while completing nearly 60 percent (148-254) of his passes. On the ground, he led the Buckeyes with 1,271 rushing yards and 13 TDs and recorded six 100-yard rushing games, including a school record 186 in the win over Nebraska. In the process, Miller became just the third different QB in Big Ten history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. He topped Bobby Hoying's school record with 3,310 yards of total offense.
Roby is tied for second nationally with 19 passes defended this season, including 17 PBUs, which tied a school record, and two interceptions. One of 15 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, he recorded four PBUs in the win at Penn State and came up with a momentum shifting "pick six" in the win over Nebraska. Roby is the only defensive player in the nation to score touchdowns three different ways this season (recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone; recovered a blocked punt in the end zone; and an interception return). He also blocked a punt in the win at Michigan State and finished third on the team with 63 total tackles, including 2.0 TFL.
"Being named all-Big Ten just shows that hard work really does pay off," Roby said. "I think I was having a pretty good year, but I am most happy that we won all of our games. That's what makes you feel really good."
Shazier enjoyed a breakout year from his linebacker spot, leading the Big Ten in TFL with 17 while finishing tied for second with 115 total tackles. He also ranks seventh in both sacks (5.0) and passes defended (12) and caused three fumbles. Shazier, who was named Big Ten defensive player of the week twice, recorded six 10-plus tackle games with a season-high 14.0 in the win over Illinois. But no game was bigger than his 8.0-tackle performance at Penn State, which included 2.0 sacks for minus-22 yards and a 17-yard interception return early in the third quarter that broke a 7-7 tie and sparked the Buckeyes to victory. He also had a huge forced fumble at the goal line – on fourth and inches – against Wisconsin in addition to 12 tackles.
Hankins made life miserable for opposing offenses all season long, recording 55.0 tackles, 4.0 TFL and 1.0 sacks despite constant double-teams. He recorded a pair of 10-tackle games vs. California and UAB and had 8.0 tackles in the overtime win over Purdue.
Howard enjoyed a solid senior season at his cornerback spot, picking off three passes in the first two games and finishing the year with four to lead the Big Ten. He finished the year with 40.0 tackles, with a season-high 8.0 in the win over UAB.
Mewhort and Norwell, starters in every game this season, helped power Ohio State's rushing attack to 10th nationally with 242.2 yards per game. They were both leaders on an offensive line that had to replace three starter and helped the Buckeyes rush for 37 TDs, which rank fifth nationally and the most at Ohio State in 30 years.
Despite missing more than two games with a knee injury, Hyde flourished in Meyer's offensive system, rushing for 970 yards and 16 TDs. He had four games of 100 or more yards and saved his best for late in the season, rushing for 812 yards and 14 TDs in the final seven games. He rushed for a season-high 156 yards and a score at Indiana and scored four TDs on 140 yards in the win over Nebraska. He capped his breakout year with 146 yards and a TD in the win over arch-rival Michigan Saturday.
Brown also took advantage of the offensive system from his receiver position, hauling in 60 passes for 669 yards and three TDs. He also carried 11 times for 96 yards and a score and took two punts to the house – a 76-yarder vs. Nebraska and a 68-yarder in the overtime win in Madison – earning him Big Ten special teams player of the week both times. Brown recorded a season-high 95 yards receiving and a TD in the win Saturday over Michigan.
Bryant was second on the team with 71 tackles and second with 12 PBUs. He recorded his lone interception of the season in the win over California that iced the win for the Buckeyes in the final minutes. He recorded nine games with 5.0 or more tackles from his safety spot, with a season-high 9.0 in the win over Nebraska.