Dec. 11, 2012
ESPN.com Big Ten All-Freshman Team
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Three first-year Wildcats who made key contributions on the field this season were recognized Tuesday for their achievements, earning spots on ESPN.com's Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
The squad included two Northwestern representatives on defense in redshirt freshman cornerback Nick VanHoose and true freshman defensive end Dean Lowry, while true freshman superback Dan Vitale represented the 'Cats on offense.
VanHoose started all nine games in which he appeared, ably filling the void at cornerback left by departed four-year starter Jordan Mabin. VanHoose collected two interceptions, both against Big Ten opponents, and was second on the team with seven pass breakups. Three of VanHoose's PBUs this year came in a road win over Minnesota -- with all three coming on potential touchdown catches in the end zone -- in an effort that garnered VanHoose Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
Lowry contributed in all 12 games as a reserve defensive end, especially making his presence known on third-down pass rushing situations. He finished with 13 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and a team-best six quarterback hurries, also recording one fumble recovery.
On the other side of the ball, Vitale also appeared in every game of his true freshman season, starting 10 of them. The Wheaton, Ill., native excelled as both a run-blocker and a receiver from his position at superback, catching 21 passes for 206 yards (9.8 ypc) and a pair of touchdowns. Like VanHoose, Vitale also nabbed a Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor this year, doing so after setting career highs with nine receptions for 110 yards in a 23-20 victory at Michigan State.
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