College football publications are releasing their All-Big Ten teams.
Three Maryland players appear on the respective teams in the Athlon Sports version. Ohio State led the way with a mind-numbing 18 players appearing on the list.
In somewhat of a surprise, Yannick Ngakoue appeared on the Second Team with Joey Bosa (Ohio State) and Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State) occupying the two First Team spots. Iowa’s Drew Ott was the other Second Team representative.
During his first two seasons in College Park, Ngakoue was used in a hybrid linebacker role. He rushed the passer off the edge, but primarily occupied one of four of Maryland’s linebacker spots in their 3-4 defense. As a sophomore, Ngakoue registered 37 tackles (25 solo) while recording six sacks and forcing a fumble.
Ngakoue will get the chance to put his hands in the dirt and be a traditional pass rusher in Maryland’s new 4-3 defense under defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski.
Cornerback Will Likely also appeared on Athlon Sports’ list as he was tabbed a member of the All-Big Ten First Team at the position. Ohio State’s Eli Apple was the other First Team cornerback.
Likely has been arguably Maryland’s top defensive player since being forced to start during his freshman season. In 2014, the Florida native racked up 83 tackles (66 solo) and picked off a Big Ten-leading six passes. Likely also tied for second in pass breakups with 1.15 per game.
Likely was also selected as a Third Team punt returner and a Fourth Team kick returner. The Terps cornerback is incredibly dynamic in the return game as he returned a kickoff and a punt back for a touchdown last season. He averaged 11.1 yards per punt return, which was third in the Big Ten a season ago.
As should come as no surprise, Brad Craddock was tabbed as the All-Big Ten First Team kicker. Craddock was chosen over Rafael Gaglianone (Wisconsin), Paul Griggs (Purdue), and Jack Mitchell (Northwestern).
Craddock won the Lou Groza Award in 2015, which is given to the top kicker in college football. The Austrailan placekicker connected on 18 of his 19 attempts while drilling all 44 of his point-after-attempts.
Obviously, these are preseason projections and we’ll learn more about Maryland’s roster as the season opener gets closer. There’s definitely a lot of young talent on the defensive side of the ball, so more Terps may be on lists like this when the season is over.
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