COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis and senior punter Cameron Johnston were each named major award winners by the Big Ten Conference today as the all-conference defensive and specialists teams were announced by the league. Four from Ohio State's defense earned first-team all-conference honors with nine additional players earning 2nd-team, 3rd-team or honorable mention status on either the coaches' team, the media team or both. Offensive award winners will be named Wednesday.
Lewis, from Tarboro (N.C.) High School, was named the league's Smith-Brown defensive lineman of the year. He leads a stellar Ohio State defense -- it is 4th nationally in total defense, 1st in passing efficiency defense, 4th in scoring defense and 15th in rushing defense -- with 7.5 quarterback sacks and 10 tackles for losses totaling 57 yards. He has 27 total tackles, five quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two pass deflections.
Lewis is the third consecutive Buckeye -- Joey Bosa in 2014 and 2015 -- to earn the Big Ten's defensive lineman of the year award, the 10th Buckeye overall to win the award and the 12th to earn the honor (or defensive player of the year) for defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
Johnston, from Geelong, Australia, is awarded the Eddleman-Fields punter of the year award for his outstanding contributions on Ohio State's special teams. One of the nation's best punters for four years now, Johnston will own virtually all of the Ohio State punting average and inside-the-20 records at the conclusion of his career. The Ray Guy Award finalist has Ohio State positioned 5th nationally and 1st in Big Ten in net punting. Individually, Johnston is 5th nationally and 1st in the Big Ten at 46.2 yards per punt.
Three additional first-team defenders
Lewis and Johnston are each first-team all-Big Ten on both the coaches' and media teams. Three more defenders were also named all-Big Ten today:
- Safety Malik Hooker, the consensus choice among a five-strong ESPN media contingent to win defensive player of the year honors in the league (although he did not), was named first-team on both teams
- So was standout linebacker Raekwon McMillan, the team's leading tackler this season with 87 who is coming off one of his finest games: a career-high tying 16-tackle performance in the win over Michigan
- Marshon Lattimore, the first-year starting cornerback who ranked second on the team and sixth in the Big Ten in interceptions with four, was selected first-team all-Big Ten by the coaches (and second-team by the media)
Junior cornerback Gareon Conley was a second-team pick by the coaches and a third-team selection from the media panel.
Two more specialists also made third-teams: kicker Tyler Durbin, who leads the Big Ten in scoring and kick scoring, was named by both panels; and return specialist Parris Campbell was third-team by the coaches.
A plethora of players made honorable mention lists: sophomore LB Jerome Baker, junior DT Michael Hill, junior DE Jalyn Holmes, sophomore DE Sam Hubbard, sophomore CB Denzel Ward, junior SAF Damon Webb and junior LB Chris Worley.
Senior linebacker and team captain Joe Burger was Ohio State's Big Ten sportsmanship award honoree.