Devin Bush, Pat Fitzgerald Honored as 2018 Big Ten DPOY, Coach of Year

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush plays against Indiana in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Big Ten released the first half of its annual awards on Tuesday, with the defensive and special teams players earning recognition. 

Michigan's Devin Bush was the top honoree of the group, collecting both Defensive Player of the Year and Linebacker of the Year, per the league's official site.

Pat Fitzgerald was also awarded Coach of the Year after leading Northwestern to the Big Ten title game.


Big Ten Awards

Defensive Player of the Year: Devin Bush, Michigan

Coach of the Year: Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Defensive Lineman of the Year: Kenny Willekes, Michigan State

Linebacker of the Year: Devin Bush, Michigan

Defensive Back of the Year: Amani Hooker, Iowa

Kicker of the Year: Chase McLaughlin, Illinois

Punter of the Year: Will Hart, Michigan

Return Specialist of the Year: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa

Humanitarian Award: Jake Wood, Wisconsin

Leadership Award: Antwaan Randle El, Indiana


Northwestern was considered a longshot to win the West division despite finishing last season with a 10-3 record. After a 1-3 start to the season, the Wildcats were essentially forgotten by most analysts.

However, Fitzgerald kept his team together to win seven of the final eight games of the regular season. The squad will now have a shot at the Rose Bowl if it can beat Ohio State in the title game.

This earned him Coach of the Year honors from both the media and his fellow coaches, which he discussed Tuesday on Big Ten Network:

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

Congratulations, @coachfitz51! His season featuring the @NUFBFamily program's first berth in Indianapolis has earned him B1G Coach of the Year honors: https://t.co/qZsePntJSn

Meanwhile, Michigan dominated the player honors with five players on the defense named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. The squad also had a few names on the special teams list:

Big Ten Football @B1Gfootball

The 2018 All-Big Ten Defense as selected by #B1GFootball coaches. https://t.co/eSzT3SFmYo

Big Ten Football @B1Gfootball

The 2018 All-Big Ten Special Teams as selected by #B1GFootball coaches. https://t.co/7hdialJwYa

The Wolverines had one of the best defenses in the country for most of the season and Bush was the team's most important player while making plays in the backfield or in the secondary.

With Will Hart also being the top punter in the league, there was a lot of talent across the field for Michigan.

The offensive awards will be announced Wednesday, which could feature several Ohio State players after an impressive season.