Nine Fighting Illini Gridders Earn All-Big Ten Honors
Nov. 28, 2000
Nine members of the University of Illinois football team were named to the 2000 All-Big Ten teams, as voted on by the conference coaches and media, Tuesday afternoon. Senior defensive end Fred Wakefield earned first-team honors on both lists, the first top selection for the Illini since Simeon Rice and Kevin Hardy in 1995.
Wakefield, a native of Tuscola, Ill., earned the honors following a season in which he led the conference in sacks (9) and tackles for loss (21). He also was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Week on two occasions.
Offensive linemen Marques Sullivan (Oak Park, Ill.) and Ray Redziniak (Clark, N.J.) were named to the second-team for the second-straight year. They were members of the highly touted line which totaled 1,790 rushing yards and 2,389 passing. They allowed only 17 sacks on the season which ranked as the 13th lowest in college football.
Earning honorable mention honors were center Luke Butkus (Stegar, Ill.), punter Steve Fitts (South Congaree, S.C.), linebacker Robert Franklin (St. Louis, Mo.), running back Rocky Harvey (Chicago, Ill.), tight end Josh Whitman (West Lafayette, Ind.) and cornerback Eugene Wilson (Merrillville, Ind.).
Butkus, a two-year starter, totaled 57 knockdowns on the season, while Fitts averaged 40.9 yards per punt and landed 11 of his 52 attempts inside the 20 yardline. Franklin led the team in total tackles with 109 at the middle linebacker position, he also registered an interception and a fumble recovery. With 83 all purpose yards per game, Harvey led the team while racking up 683 rushing yards. He broke into the Illini's top-eight career rushing yardage list with 2,091 total yards in three seasons. Whitman finished his Illini career as one of the most productive tight ends in Illinois history with seven touchdown receptions, two shy of NFL standout Ken Dilger who holds the record at the position. Wilson came on at the end of the season with three interceptions in the last two games to total four on the season. He recorded 37 tackles and 16 pass deflections.
Below are the entire 2000 All-Big Ten teams:
Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees, Purdue Defensive Player of the Year: Jamar Fletcher, Wisconsin Coach of the Year: Randy Walker, Northwestern Freshman of the Year: Stuart Schweigert, Purdue Offensive Lineman of the Year: Steve Hutchinson, Michigan Co-Defensive Linemen of the Year: Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin & Karon Riley, Minnesota
COACHES TEAM OFFENSE POS. FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM QB Drew Brees, Purdue Antwaan Randle El, Indiana RB Damien Anderson, Northwestern Michael Bennett, Wisconsin RB Anthony Thomas, Michigan T.J. Duckett, Michigan State WR Vinny Sutherland, Purdue Chris Chambers, Wisconsin WR David Terrell, Michigan Ron Johnson, Minnesota C Ben Hamilton, Minnesota LeCharles Bentley, Ohio State OG Steve Hutchinson, Michigan Bill Ferrario, Wisconsin OG Casey Rabach, Wisconsin Ray Redziniak, Illinois OT Jeff Backus, Michigan Kareem McKenzie, Penn State OT Matt Light, Purdue Marques Sullivan, Illinois TE Tim Stratton, Purdue Tony Stewart, Penn State K Dan Stultz, Ohio State Dan Nystrom, Minnesota
DEFENSE POS. FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM DL Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin Akin Ayodele, Purdue DL Dwayne Missouri, Northwestern Justin Kurpeikis, Penn State DL Karon Riley, Minnesota Matt Mitrione, Purdue DL Fred Wakefield, Illinois John Schlect, Minnesota LB Joe Cooper, Ohio State Napoleon Harris, Northwestern LB Larry Foote, Michigan Larry Foote, Michigan LB Josh Thornhill, Michigan State Sean Hoffman, Minnesota (tie) Justin Smith, Indiana (tie) DB Nate Clements, Ohio State James Boyd, Penn State DB Jamar Fletcher, Wisconsin Mike Echols, Wisconsin DB Renaldo Hill, Michigan State Mike Doss, Ohio State DB Willie Middlebrooks, Minnesota Richard Newsome, Michigan State P Kevin Stemke, Wisconsin Preston Gruening, Minnesota
MEDIA TEAM OFFENSE POS. FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM QB Drew Brees, Purdue Antwaan Randle El, Indiana RB Damien Anderson, Nortwestern Michael Bennett, Wisconsin RB Anthony Thomas, Michigan T.J. Duckett, Michigan State WR Ron Johnson, Minnesota Kevin Casper, Iowa WR David Terrell, Michigan Vinny Sutherland, Purdue C Ben Hamilton, Minnesota LeCharles Bentley, Ohio State OG Steve Hutchinson, Michigan Bill Ferrario, Wisconsin OG Casey Rabach, Wisconsin Shaun Mason, Michigan State OT Jeff Backus, Michigan Leon Brockmeier, Northwestern OT Matt Light, Purdue Marques Sullivan, Illinois TE Tim Stratton, Purdue Tony Stewart, Penn State K Dan Stultz, Ohio State Tim Long, Northwestern
DEFENSE POS. FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM DL Justin Kurpeikis, Penn State Akin Ayodele, Purdue DL Dwayne Missouri, Northwestern Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin DL Karon Riley, Minnesota Brent Johnson, Ohio State DL Fred Wakefield, Illinois Matt Mitrione, Purdue LB Nick Greisen, Wisconsin Joe Cooper, Ohio State LB Billy Silva, Northwestern Larry Foote, Michigan LB Josh Thornhill, Michigan State Napoleon Harris, Northwestern DB James Boyd, Penn State Harold Blackmon, Northwestern DB Nate Clements, Ohio State Mike Echols, Wisconsin DB Mike Doss, Ohio State Cedric Henry, Michigan State DB Jamar Fletcher, Wisconsin Renaldo Hill, Michigan State P Kevin Stemke, Wisconsin Preston Gruening, Minnesota