Dec. 12, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, who ranks second on the team in tackles for loss (8.5 for 34 yards) and sacks (4.5 for 23 yards), has been named First-Team Freshman All-American by CollegeFootballNews.com. Worthy is one of two Big Ten players named to the CFN Freshman All-America First-Team defense, joining Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short.
The 6-foot-3, 292-pound Worthy started 11 of 12 regular-season games for the Spartans and finished second among defensive linemen in tackles with 34 (19 solos, 15 assists). Worthy ranks sixth on the team in production points (75) and 10th in tackles. He produced one tackle for loss in seven straight games during one stretch.
The Huber Heights, Ohio, native matched his season high with four stops against No. 13 Penn State. He recorded four solo hits at Purdue. Worthy made four tackles and recovered a fumble at Minnesota. Against No. 7 Iowa, he registered four stops, including a season-best two tackles for loss (5 yards). Worthy tallied a season-high 1.5 sacks (8 yards) against Central Michigan. He posted four tackles in his collegiate debut against Montana State.
"We recognized Jerel Worthy's athleticism coming out of high school, and we knew that we had to figure out ways to take advantage of his athletic ability," Spartan defensive line coach Ted Gill said. "He's a big guy who changes direction very well, and he knows how to use his hands as a pass rusher. Jerel has good feet and a good burst out of his stance. He has the ability to defeat bigger offensive linemen because he plays with good leverage. As Jerel continues to work and improve, he'll become a more dominant player as he gains experience."
Worthy previously was named Third-Team All-Freshman by Phil Steele and to ESPN.com's Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Michigan State (6-6, 4-4 Big Ten) will face Texas Tech (8-4, 5-3 Big 12) in the 17th annual Valero Alamo Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas. The Valero Alamo Bowl will be televised nationally by ESPN with kickoff set for 9 p.m. EST.