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December 15, 2010
Each of the Big Ten's tri-champs received big contributions from freshmen this season, and the roles played by those youngsters is one reason there were tri-champs.
Michigan State and Wisconsin received big-time rushing numbers from freshmen, and one of those -- the Badgers' James White -- is the Rivals.com Big Ten freshman of the year. White, from powerhouse Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, led the league's newcomers with 1,029 rushing yards -- third in the nation among freshman -- and 14 rushing touchdowns. He was an effective complement to Badgers power backs John Clay and Montee Ball.
Michigan State received 592 yards and eight rushing TDs from Le'Veon Bell, like White a true freshman.
Our defensive freshman of the year is Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen, like White a Floridian; Allen is from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland. Allen had three interceptions and returned two for touchdowns (one against Michigan, the other against Michigan State). He also had 73 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack and four pass breakups.
Rather then bypass some deserving candidates, we decided not to necessarily be position-specific (i.e., guards, tackles, ends, free safeties, etc.) on our all-freshman teams along the lines and in the secondary.