Five Spartans Earn First-Team All-Big Ten Honors
Le'Veon Bell selected first team by the coaches and media; Johnny Adams, Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard and Mike Sadler garnered first-team accolades by the coaches.
Nov. 26, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Five Spartans have been named to the All-Big Ten first team and a total of 11 players have received all-conference recognition, as the Big Ten Network announced the 2012 All-Big Ten Teams Monday evening. The five first-team selections are the most for Michigan State since 1999.
Junior running back Le'Veon Bell, who leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing with 137.3 yards per game, was a first-team honoree by both the coaches and media. Senior cornerback Johnny Adams, junior linebacker Max Bullough, junior cornerback Darqueze Dennard and sophomore punter Mike Sadler joined Bell on the coaches' first team.
Junior tight end Dion Sims earned second-team honors from both the coaches and media, while junior defensive end William Gholston was a second-team pick by the media. Adams, Bullough, Dennard and Sadler were also second-team choices by the media.
Junior linebacker Denicos Allen, junior safety Isaiah Lewis, senior right guard Chris McDonald and sophomore defensive end Marcus Rush were all honorable mention selections by both the coaches and media. Gholston was named honorable mention by the coaches.
Bell leads the nation in carries (350) while ranking third in rushing (137.3 ypg.) and 15th in all-purpose yards (155.5 ypg.). His 1,648 rushing yards (second) and 350 carries (fourth) rank among the Top 10 single-season totals in MSU history.
The Columbus, Ohio, native also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in rushing (first), all-purpose yards (second), rushing touchdowns (tied for sixth with 11) and total offense (10th with 137.3 ypg.).Bell has recorded seven 100-yard rushing games in 2012. A complete back, his 30 receptions (154 yards) are fifth on the team. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week three times this season (Aug. 31 vs. Boise State; Sept. 22 vs. Eastern Michigan; Nov. 24 vs. Minnesota).
According to STATS, Bell has gained 834 of his 1,648 rushing yards (51 percent) after contact and has broken 17 tackles this season. His 834 rushing yards after contact rank first among all NCAA FBS running backs. In addition, he has produced 77 first downs and 32 runs of 10 or more yards, including 12 gains of 20 or more yards.
A Doak Walker Award semifinalist, Bell has produced the top single-game total in the NCAA FBS this season for carries (44 vs. Boise State) and eighth-most rushing yards (266 vs. Minnesota). He is one of just four running backs in the NCAA FBS in 2012 to record three 200-yard rushing games (Toledo's David Fluellen, Air Force's Cody Getz, Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews).
"Le'Veon Bell finished the regular season as the Big Ten's leading rusher," MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. "He was a workhorse throughout the season and he finished strong (averaged 195.7 yards over the last three games). Le'Veon provided consistent production, and over the last three games, he really showed what he could do once he got to the second level of the defense."
After rushing for a career-high 266 yards - the most by a Big Ten player this season - and a touchdown on 35 carries in Michigan State's 26-10 win at Minnesota, Bell was named College Football Performance Awards' National Running Back of the Week and Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Bell's career day helped MSU become bowl eligible for a school-record sixth-straight season. His 266 rushing yards are the sixth-highest single-game total in MSU history. He capped off an 11-play, 57-yard drive with an 8-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter that iced the game for the Spartans, and also ripped off runs of 26, 40 and 30 yards against the Gophers.
He carried 32 times for 133 yards in MSU's 23-20 loss to Northwestern.
Bell gained 188 yards on 36 carries for 188 yards in Michigan State's 28-24 loss to No. 21 Nebraska. For the third time this season, he scored two rushing TDs, scoring on runs of 11 yards and 1 yard.
With 77 yards on 21 carries in MSU's 16-13 overtime victory at Wisconsin, Bell eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing milestone for the first time in his career. He became the 13th running back (21 times combined) in Spartan history to record a 1,000-yard rushing season. His first career TD reception came on a 5-yard shovel pass from Andrew Maxwell with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime tied at 10.
Bell carried 29 times for 140 yards and a TD against Iowa. It marked his second-straight 100-yard rushing game against the Hawkeyes (20 rushes for 112 yards in 2011).
Bell led all players with 121 rushing yards on 37 carries in MSU's 31-27 win at Indiana. The 37 carries were the second most in his career (44 vs. Boise State).
The 6-foot-2, 237-pound Bell set career highs for receptions (8) and receiving yards (58) against Ohio State and totaled 103 all-purpose yards (58 receiving, 45 rushing) against the Buckeyes.
Bell earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season after rushing for 253 yards (36 carries) and a TD in Michigan State's 23-7 victory over Eastern Michigan. His 253 yards mark the seventh-highest single-game rushing total in MSU history.
Bell collected several weekly honors after he helped lead Michigan State past No. 24 Boise State, 17-13, in the season-opening win. He was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the conference office and also the Big Ten Player of the Week by ESPN.com. In addition, he was named the Heisman Player of the Week by CBSSports.com. Bell rushed for 210 yards and set a career high for rushing attempts (44) against the Broncos, while also collecting 55 receiving yards on six catches. He outgained the entire Boise State offense, 210-206, and 84 of his 210 yards came after contact. In addition, Bell's 265 all-purpose yards rank as the 11th-highest single-game total in Spartan history, and his 44 carries tied for fourth most in school history.
Bell has rushed for 3,201 yards and 32 TDs in 38 career games. He ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing TDs (sixth with 32), rushing attempts (sixth with 639) and rushing yards (seventh with 3,201). Bell also ranks among the Top 20 active NCAA FBS leaders in carries (eighth), rushing yards (10th) and rushing TDs (tied for 18th). Bell has 11 career 100-yard rushing games, which is eighth most at MSU, including seven this season. Michigan State is 17-2 (.885) when Bell scores at least one rushing TD (2010: 5-0; 2011: 7-1; and 2012: 5-1).
The 5-11, 177-pound Adams, who also garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors last season from the coaches, becomes the first Spartan defensive back to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors in consecutive seasons since John Miller (1987-88). In addition, Adams is just the sixth Spartan defensive back to be named first-team All-Big Ten in multiple seasons (Brad Van Pelt, 1971-72; William Simpson, 1972-73; Thomas Hannon, 1975-76; Phil Parker, 1983-85; Miller, 1987-88).
Adams ranks tied for fifth in the Big Ten with three interceptions and tied for 15th with 10 passes defended. He has collected 35 tackles, including three for losses (9 yards), and ranks tied for second on the team with seven pass break-ups. Adams collected a career-high two tackles for loss (3 yards) and a pass break-up against Notre Dame on Sept. 15 and tallied a season-high six tackles in the win at Indiana on Oct. 6.
The Akron, Ohio, native recorded a career-high two interceptions in the regular-season finale at Minnesota and his 11 career interceptions are 10th most in MSU history. He also ranks among MSU's career leaders in interception return yards (fourth with 230), passed defended (fifth with 35) and pass break-ups (11th with 24).
"Johnny Adams is a three-time All-Big Ten selection and that speaks volumes," Dantonio said. "We constantly put him on an island and he responded to the challenge. He's an active player with big-play capability."
A semifinalist for the Butkus Award, Bullough leads the team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in both tackles (102; 8.5 avg.) and tackles for loss (12 for 44 yards). He also ranks second on the team with 2.5 sacks (15 yards). In conference games, he ranked fourth in tackles in the Big Ten, averaging 9.5 per game.
"I can't say enough about Max Bullough," Dantonio said. "He's a great team leader, and he thoroughly prepares for every game. Max is a tough, downhill player, who consistently performs at a high level. He's great in pass coverage too."
Bullough, who was elected a team captain this season, has produced at least one tackle for loss in each of the last seven games, including a 1-yard loss in the regular-season finale at Minnesota. He also posted a team-high seven stops against the Gophers.
The 6-3, 252-pound Bullough registered eight tackles against Northwestern, with one tackle for loss (2 yards). His half sack (combined with junior defensive end William Gholston) against Kain Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter.
He reached double figures in tackles for the fourth time this season and sixth time in his career, with 10 stops against Nebraska.
Bullough recorded nine tackles while setting career highs for both tackles for loss (2.5 for 15 yards) and sacks (2 for 14) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime victory at No. 25 Wisconsin, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Madison since 2001 while snapping the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 21 games. MSU limited Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing (37 carries) - nearly 182 fewer than its season average. The Spartans also held the Badgers to 190 total yards - the first time UW managed fewer than 200 yards total offense since Nov. 20, 2004 (186 vs. Iowa). MSU's produced season highs in both tackles for loss (12 for 59) and sacks (5 for 38).
He posted 10 stops, a career-high two pass break-ups and recorded his first interception of the season at Michigan.
Bullough recorded 11 stops against Iowa and posted a season-high 12 stops against No. 14 Ohio State to go along with two pass break-ups and a forced fumble.
The Traverse City, Mich., native has 214 tackles, including 20.5 for losses (76 yards), in 39 career games. Bullough has started every game at middle linebacker since the beginning of the 2011 season (26 consecutive games), a streak that ranks tied for longest on the Spartan defense (strong safety Isaiah Lewis; defensive end Marcus Rush) and second-longest on the team (right guard Chris McDonald, 29-straight starts). He led the team in tackles last season with 89 and was a second-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and a honorable mention selection by the media.
Bullough is a third-generation Spartan, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Hank (guard, 1952-54) and father Shane (linebacker, 1983-86) who played football at Michigan State. Max's father, Shane, was also named a team captain in 1986 and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors that season.
The 5-11, 188-pound Dennard is tied for the team lead in interceptions (3), pass break-ups (7) and passes defended (10), numbers which all rank among the Big Ten leaders (tied for fifth in interceptions; tied for 15th in passes defended; tied for 16th in pass break-ups). He ranks sixth on the team with 49 tackles, including 3.5 for losses (5 yards).
"Darqueze Dennard simply had an outstanding season," Dantonio said. "He's truly a complete player. Darqueze is an excellent tackler, has great ball skills, and can run and cover. He too played a lot of press coverage."
The Dry Branch, Ga., product tied his career high with two interceptions against No. 21 Nebraska; his 30-yard interception return in the third quarter set up MSU's third TD of the game. He tied his career high in tackles with seven stops against Northwestern and broke up a career-best three passes in the season-opening victory over Boise State.
Dennard has 102 tackles and 16 passes defended (six interceptions, 10 pass break-ups) in 29 career games, including 25 starts. He garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades last season.
Sadler, who ranks second in the Big Ten and 20th in the NCAA FBS in punting with his 43.2-yard average, becomes the sixth Spartan punter to be named first-team All-Big Ten. He has placed 41 percent of his punts inside the 20 (28-of-68) and 22 percent inside the 10 (15-of-68). The 6-0, 180-pound Sadler has 16 punts of 50-plus yards, including a career-long 70 yarder against No. 14 Ohio State.
"Mike Sadler averaged better than 43 yards per punt and had 28 kicks downed inside the 20," Dantonio said. "Mike has an outstanding leg, great placement and excellent get-off time. He's an extremely poised player, who has been asked to do a lot for this team. He also has great hands, as he has displayed as our holder."
Sadler was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 46.6 yards on seven punts vs. No. 21 Nebraska, including three placed inside the 20. He pinned a season-best three punts inside the 10 in the overtime win at Wisconsin.
The Grand Rapids, Mich., native averaged 41.1 yards on seven punts at Michigan, including a season-high four inside the 20. On fourth-and-9 from MSU's 23-yard line in the fourth quarter against the Wolverines, Sadler ran a fake punt 26 yards for a Spartan first down, leading to Dan Conroy's go-ahead field goal with 5:48 remaining in the game.
Sadler averaged a career-best 55.4 yards per punt (five for 277 yards) against the Buckeyes, including his career-long 70-yarder in the second quarter.
Sadler's career average of 42.2 yards per punt is currently sixth best in MSU history.
Despite missing nearly three full games with an ankle injury, Sims earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and media. He ranks fourth (tied) on the team with 33 receptions for 451 yards (13.7 avg.) and two scores. His 33 catches and 451 receiving yards both represent career highs.
Twenty-seven of his 33 receptions (82 percent) have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown.
"Despite missing nearly three full games, Dion Sims still earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, so that says something about his production," Dantonio said. "He's a big target with great hands. With his combination of size and power, Dion is difficult to bring down, so gains a lot of yards after the catch. He's also a much improved run-blocker."
The 6-5, 285-pound Sims posted his second 100-yard receiving game of the season (and his career), with five grabs for 102 yards against Northwestern. He had a career-long 44-yard reception from Andrew Maxwell on MSU's second offensive series.
Through the first five games of the 2012 season, Sims led the Spartans in catches (24), receiving yards (313) and TD receptions (2). He sat out entire Iowa game and played only nine snaps at Michigan after suffering an ankle injury early in the first quarter of MSU's Oct. 6 game at Indiana.
Sims was selected John Mackey and College Football Performance Awards' National Tight End of the Week after recording his first career 100-yard receiving game with six receptions for 112 yards and a score against Eastern Michigan. He had three catches for 73 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 10-yard TD grab from Maxwell that gave MSU a 16-7 lead.
The Detroit, Mich., native had a team-high six catches for 52 yards against No. 20 Notre Dame. He caught three passes for 48 yards at Central Michigan, including a 20-yard TD reception from Maxwell late in the second quarter. Sims recorded a career-best seven receptions for 65 yards in the season opener against No. 24 Boise State.
Gholston earned second-team honors from the media for a second-straight year after leading the Spartans in sacks (3.5 for 19 yards) and pass break-ups (9) and tying for the team lead in tackles for loss (12 for 44 yards) during the regular season. Gholston also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in tackles for loss (tied for eighth) and pass break-ups (tied for 10th).
Gholston leads the Spartan defensive linemen and is tied for fifth overall in tackles with 50. His nine pass break-ups rank first among NCAA FBS defensive linemen. Gholston has recorded at least one tackle for loss in eight of MSU's 12 games.
"Will Gholston anchors a defense line that helped Michigan State rank No. 1 in the Big Ten against the run," Dantonio said. "He's an active player, who adds a physical presence at the point of attack."
The Detroit, Mich., native posted six tackles against Northwestern. His half sack (combined with Bullough) against Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter.
He contributed five tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss, and a career-best two pass break-ups against No. 21 Nebraska.
The 6-7, 278-pound Gholston was named the College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Lineman of the Week after tallying a season-best 4.5 tackles for loss (10 yards) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime win at Wisconsin. His 4.5 tackles for loss were the second most by a Big Ten player in a single game this season and rank eighth most by a Spartan defender in a single game. He totaled a career-best 36 production points against the Badgers (previous high: 34 production points vs. Ohio State, 2011).
Gholston has collected 133 tackles, including 29 for losses (97 yards) and nine sacks (51 yards), in 35 career games. His 29 tackles for loss rank tied for 10th most in school history.
The 6-5, 298-pound McDonald, who has played in 42 career games, including a team-best 29 consecutive starts at right guard, picked up honorable mention accolades for the second time in his career.
The 5-11, 225-pound Allen ranks tied for second on the team in tackles (76) and third in tackles for loss (9.0 for 42 yards). The Hamilton, Ohio, native has registered 177 tackles in 39 career games, and already ranks among MSU's all-time Top 20 in sacks (tied for ninth with 13 for 97 yards) and tackles for loss (14th with 28.5 for 131 yards).
The 5-10, 205-pound Lewis, who has started 26 consecutive games at safety, is tied for second on the team with 76 tackles and has six pass break-ups and one interception. He tied his career high with 12 tackles in the win over Eastern Michigan and also posted double-digit stops against No. 14 Ohio State with 10.
The 6-2, 250-pound Rush recorded at least a half tackle for loss in eight games this season, including a season-high two against Notre Dame. He ranks second among Spartan defensive linemen with 35 tackles and is fourth on the team with seven tackles for loss (33 yards), including two sacks (21 yards).
Sophomore wide receiver Keith Mumphery, who is tied for the team lead with in receptions (41) and ranks second in receiving yards (511), was MSU's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, which is presented to the student-athletes who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior.
· Seven starters on MSU's defense earned All-Big Ten recognition (DB Johnny Adams, LB Denicos Allen, LB Max Bullough, DB Darqueze Dennard, DE William Gholston, DB Isaiah Lewis, DE Marcus Rush). The Spartan defense ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 20 in seven categories: total defense (fourth at 273.3 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (sixth at 99.0), rushing defense (eighth at 99.6 ypg.), pass defense (eighth at 173.7 ypg.), scoring defense (10th at 16.3 ppg.), passes defended (tied for 11th at 6.1 pg.) and third-down defense (13th at .308). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in three defensive categories (total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense).
· Since 2007, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio has helped produce 20 All-Big Ten first-team selections.
2012 ALL-BIG TEN TEAMS - MICHIGAN STATE SELECTIONS
COACHESFirst Team - Offense
Le'Veon Bell, RB
Second Team - Offense
Dion Sims, TE
Honorable Mention - Offense
Chris McDonald, OG
First Team - Offense
Le'Veon Bell, RB
Second Team - Offense
Dion Sims, TE
Honorable Mention - Offense
Chris McDonald, OG