First-Team Big Ten at the Midpoint: Michael Hart Leads the Pack

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First-Team Big Ten at the Midpoint: Michael Hart Leads the Pack

IconWe have reached the halfway point in perhaps the zaniest college football season ever, replete with surprises and letdowns.  The Big Ten, as a group, fits into the latter of those categories.

Despite its poor play thus far, the major conference from the Midwest has talent that many teams would love to include on their depth chart (at most positions, anyway—ahem, QB). 

I have compiled a list of the conference's best, and it's a squad that could probably even win the SEC.  Northwestern and Minnesota are the only teams without representatives.

Without further ado, here is my Big Ten First Team at the midway point of the season:

Offense:

QB - Curtis Painter, Purdue - The weakest position in the Big Ten.

RB - Michael Hart, Michigan (above) - The conference's most complete player.

RB - Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois - Beats out PJ Hill because of versatility.

WR - James Hardy, Indiana - Very dangerous; eight TDs already.

WR - Brian Robiskie, Ohio State - Leads conference in receiving.

TE - Travis Beckum, Wisconsin - Has as many receiving yards as Hardy.

OL - Jake Long, Michigan - Probably the best in college football.

OL - Kirk Barton, Ohio State - Leads a young Buckeye line that has excelled.

OL - Jordan Grimes, Purdue - A veteran for the Boilermakers at G.

OL - Alex Boone, Ohio State - Getting better every week; becoming dominant.

OL - Adam Kraus, Michigan - Helps pave the way for Hart.
 
Defense:
 
DL - Greg Middleton, Indiana - 8.5 sacks ranks him second in nation.
 
DL - Jonal Saint-Dic, Michigan State - A terror in the backfield; six forced fumbles.
 
DL - Vernon Gholston, Ohio State - The nation's most physically imposing player?
 
DL - Mitch King, Iowa - An energy player on a good Iowa defense.
 
LB - James Laurinaitis, Ohio State - The "Little Animal" is a ball hawk.
 
IconLB - Dan Connor, Penn State (right) - This year's Nittany Lion LB great.
 
LB - J Leman, Illinois - He gets after it; almost 12 tackles per game.
 
DB - Malcom Jenkins, Ohio State - Might be the nation's best corner.
 
DB - Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin - A complete player; covers and tackles.
 
DB - Tracy Porter, Indiana - Intercepts passes and makes plays.
 
DB - Justin King, Penn State - Plays all over the field.
 
Special Teams:
 
K - Austin Starr, Indiana - He's putting up the best numbers, and has kicked well.
 
P - AJ Trapasso, Ohio State - A pro at hitting the "coffin corner" and a 42+ yard avg.

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