ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced its 2019 football preseason honors on Thursday in conjunction with the start of Big Ten Media Days at the Hilton Chicago. A media panel selected the 10-member preseason list, with five representatives each from the East and West Divisions.
Michigan State and Ohio State each placed two honorees on the East Division team, with Buckeye junior running back J.K. Dobbins earning Big Ten football preseason accolades for the second consecutive season. He is joined on this year’s preseason East Division squad by his OSU classmate, defensive end Chase Young, as well as a pair of MSU seniors in linebacker Joe Bachie and defensive end Kenny Willekes, with Penn State junior defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos completing the East Division side.
Five different schools placed students on the West Division preseason list, led by Northwestern junior linebacker Paddy Fisher and Wisconsin junior running back Jonathan Taylor, both of whom garnered Big Ten preseason football honors for the second year in a row. Iowa junior defensive end A.J. Epenesa, Nebraska sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez and Purdue sophomore wide receiver/return specialist Rondale Moore rounded out this year’s West Division honorees.
The 2019 Big Ten preseason honors list features three of the conference’s individual award recipients from a season ago in Willekes (the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year), Moore (the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year and Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year) and Taylor (the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year). Taylor was also a 2018 unanimous first-team All-American and the Doak Walker Award recipient as the nation’s top running back, while Moore was a consensus All-American last season and earned the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. In addition, Willekes was a second-team All-America selection by three outlets.
Moore, Taylor and Willekes are among seven returning first-team All-Big Ten selections on the Big Ten preseason honors list, joining Bachie, Epenesa, Fisher and Gross-Matos, with Fisher also earning third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press last year.
Other 2018 all-conference honorees who appear on this year’s preseason honors list include second-team selections Dobbins and Young, as well as honorable mention choice Martinez.
Six of this year’s Big Ten preseason honorees — Bachie, Fisher, Martinez, Moore, Taylor and Willekes — are scheduled to attend Big Ten Media Days this week in Chicago.
The full list of Big Ten football preseason honorees is as follows:
Joe Bachie, Sr., LB, MSU
Kenny Willekes, Sr., DE, MSU
J.K. Dobbins, Jr., RB, OSU
Chase Young, Jr., DE, OSU
Yetur Gross-Matos, Jr., DE, PSU
A.J. Epenesa, Jr., DE, IOWA
Adrian Martinez, So., QB, NEB
Paddy Fisher, Jr., LB, NU
Rondale Moore, So., WR, PUR
Jonathan Taylor, Jr., RB, WIS