Brown has been dominating this season leading the Big Ten in tackles and ranking third in TFLs.
Oct. 18, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A pair of Fighting Illini were named to Phil Steele's midseason All-America team this week. Senior linebacker Jonathan Brown and sophomore kick returner V'Angelo Bentley both were named third-team All-Americans by the publication. In addition, five Illini were named to Steele's midseason All-Big Ten teams.
A Butkus Award candidate, Brown is leading the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the nation in tackles (12.0 tpg) heading into this weekend's game against Wisconsin. He has led the Illini in tackles every game this season and has racked up 60 total stops, 6.5 TFLs and 1.5 sacks in Illinois' first five games. Brown is a member of preseason watch lists for the Butkus Award, Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy. Last season, he was one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, which goes annually to the nation's top linebacker and is named after Illinois legend Dick Butkus.
Bentley ranks fifth in the nation and leads the Big Ten in average kick return yardage with 32.1 yards per return this season (289 yards on nine returns). His 100-yard kickoff return for touchdown against SIU was the longest by a single player in school history and equaled the longest touchdown in Illinois history. Bentley also had a 50-yard punt return against Miami (Ohio), the longest by an Illini since 2002. For the season, Bentley ranks third in the Big Ten and 14th nationally in punt return average (15.8 ypr).
In addition to being named third-team All-Americans, Brown and Bentley were both first-team midseason All-Big Ten selections by Steele. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (second team), running back Josh Ferguson (third team) and linebacker Mason Monheim (third team) were also named to Steele's midseason all-conference teams. Scheelhaase, who has a 159.15 QB rating and has thrown for 12 TDs and just four interceptions on the season, was a first-team midseason All-Big Ten performer by ESPN.com. Ferguson leads the Illini in both rushing and receiving yards, and leads the nation in receiving yards by a running back with 344. Monheim ranks fifth in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 8.4 stops per game.