Nov. 24, 2008
2008 All-Big Ten Release (PDF Format)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Capping a breakout junior season in which he ranked among the nation's leaders with 9.0 sacks and 15 tackles for loss, defensive end Corey Wootton (Rutherford, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) has been named first-team All-Big Ten by the conference coaches.
A disruptive presence in opponents' backfields all season long, Wootton also was made a second-team All-Big Ten honoree by the media. He is the first Wildcat to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors since Brett Basanez in 2005, and previously earned an honorable mention All-Big Ten nod from the media in 2006.
"Corey has always been a tremendously talented member of our program, and this honor is well deserved," head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "He came to camp this year with the right attitude and he has done a great job in his preparation all season long. He may be our only first-team All-Big Ten guy this year, but I think we have a first-team All-Big Ten football team."
Northwestern did indeed seem to earn All-Big Ten as a team this year, with eight additional Wildcats being named honorable mention selections. John Gill (Los Altos Hills, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep), Keegan Kennedy (Jupiter, Fla./Cardinal Newman), Sherrick McManis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods), Eric Peterman (Sherman, Ill./Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin), Brad Phillips (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional), Brendan Smith (Andover, Mass./New Hampton Prep (N.H.)) and Amado Villarreal (Englewood, Colo./Englewood) were recognized by both the coaches and the media, while senior Tyrell Sutton (Akron, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) picked up his fourth-career All-Big Ten accolade with an honorable mention nod from the coaches.
Sutton, who was a second-team All-Big Ten award winner and the conference's Freshman of the Year in 2005, has been an honorable mention selection in each of the last three seasons despite missing time with injuries the past two years. Sutton, who has been out with a wrist injury sustained on Oct. 25 at Indiana, has compiled 776 yards on 155 carries (5.0 ypc) to average 97.0 per game this year. He is targeting a possible return for Northwestern's bowl game.
Defensive tackle Gill is a two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention awardee. He has made 8.5 tackles for loss including 4.0 sacks and recovered two fumbles in 2008.
Offensive guard Kennedy earns his first-career All-Big Ten nod after switching positions from the defensive line at the end of last year. Despite his youth at the position, the fifth-year senior proved to be a leader and an anchor on a unit that really hit its stride as the year went on.
McManis ranks among the nation's leaders with 12 passes defended in addition to owning a pair of interceptions. The first-time All-Big Ten honoree is fourth on the team with 64 tackles.
Peterman's honor is the first such accolade of his career from the Big Ten. He leads the Wildcats with 654 receiving yards and 12.6 ypc for five touchdowns on the year. The on-the-field award goes along with Peterman's litany of other honors, including the AFCA Good Works Team, finalist for the Draddy Trophy and finalist for the ARA Sportsmanship Award.
Peterman also was named Northwestern's Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree for 2008.
Phillips is a hard-hitting safety who leads Northwestern with 101 tackles on the year. He has forced two fumbles, made a pair of picks, broken up six passes and recorded 6.0 tackles for loss. The award is his first from the conference office.
An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in 2006, Smith picks up his second-career conference accolade after proving to be a big play threat from the free safety position. He has made two interceptions on the year, returning both for touchdowns. He also is NU's leading punt returner, ripping off a huge 51-yard fourth-quarter return last Saturday against Illinois.
Villarreal has had a fantastic year kicking the ball to earn his first-career All-Big Ten award. His 85 points on the year are a school record for a kicker, breaking Brian Gowins mark of 82 set in 1996. Overall, Villarreal has made 19-of-23 field goal attempts, one shy of Gowins' single-season record of 20 set in 1997.