2019 All-Big Ten football teams? Predicting players, coach of year

College football returns in earnest this week when the Big Ten hosts its annual media days in Chicago.

And while there's still six weeks until the season officially begins, it's never too early to peer into our crystal balls and predict how the 2019 season will unfold. 

As in, who should be favored to make All-Big Ten this season, and who will bring home the conference's top individual accolades?

[ Big Ten media days schedule: Here's when Michigan, MSU will be on TV ]

Lucky, our Big Ten writers in the USA TODAY Sports Network have the answer. 

A panel of seven writers who cover the conference daily submitted individual ballots for this preseason All-Big Ten team, and the votes were added up from there to form the final list. 

Here's the team, with each writer's pick for Big Ten offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and coach of the year below:

[ Who wins the Big Ten this season? We have the answer ]


QB: Adrian Martinez, soph., Nebraska

RB: J.K. Dobbins, jr., Ohio State

RB: Jonathan Taylor, jr., Wisconsin

WR: Rondale Moore, soph., Purdue

WR: Donovan Peoples-Jones, jr., Michigan

Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones scores a touchdown reception against Florida's Trey Dean III during the Peach Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Atlanta.

TE: Pat Freiermuth, soph., Penn State

OL: Tyler Biadasz, jr., Wisconsin

OL: Ben Bredeson, sr., Michigan

OL: Alaric Jackson, jr., Iowa

OL: Thayer Munford, jr., Ohio State

OL: Jon Runyan, sr., Michigan

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DE: A.J. Epenesa, jr., Iowa

DE: Kenny Willekes, sr., Michigan State

DT: Raequan Williams, sr., Michigan State

DT: Robert Windsor, sr., Penn State

LB: Paddy Fisher, jr., Northwestern

LB: Joe Bachie, sr., Michigan State

Oct 21, 2017; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Joe Bachie (35) looks over the offense during the first quarter of a game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

LB: Markus Bailey, sr., Purdue

CB: Josiah Scott, jr., Michigan State

CB: Lavert Hill, sr., Michigan

S: Jordan Fuller, sr., Ohio State

S: Josh Metellus, sr., Michigan

Special teams

K: Matt Coghlin, jr., Michigan State

P: Drue Chrisman, jr., Ohio State

KR: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, jr., Iowa

PR: Rondale Moore, soph., Purdue


Offensive player of year

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue: The league is stacked with great defensive players, but Moore is a human highlight reel and will be perfectly featured in Jeff Brohm’s offense. — Graham Couch, Lansing State Journal. 

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue — Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue: No player provided more of a spark to his team than Moore did last season — as a true freshman. Expect Jeff Brohm to find a variety of ways to get the ball in the hands of the electric playmaker. — Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press

Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan: The addition of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is expected to enhance the Wolverines’ attack. Patterson should benefit and the Wolverines should win the league. — Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: Taylor has been the Big Ten’s best back for a while now and continues to be the most explosive option for any league team offensively. His numbers are absurd. As is his durability. — Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press

[ Badgers won't have to deal with 2018-level hype as they try to recapture the West ]

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: The workhorse operating behind a strong offensive line just never seems to wear down. He’s often the difference in the fourth quarter. — Mark Emmert, Des Moines Register

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: The Badgers need to replace their offensive line, but having the best running back in the nation is a nice start. — Josh Newman, Asbury Park Press

Defensive player of year

A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: This could go any number of ways — Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa, Ohio State’s Chase Young. Michigan State alone has four viable candidates. I’ll go with Epenesa, the Hawkeyes’ mammoth defensive end because I think he’ll stand out during a big season for Iowa football. — Graham Couch, Lansing State Journal

[ Iowa's E.J. Epenesa on 'watch list' for award given to nation's best defensive player ]

A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: The nation’s premier pass-rusher and future first-round NFL draft pick finally gets a chance to show how disruptive he can be as an every-down player. — Mark Emmert, Des Moines Register

Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State: Willekes was a monster on the defensive front for Michigan State a year ago, a relentless presence off the edge and one of the most complete defensive ends in college football. — Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press

Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State: He wreaked havoc when I saw him in Bloomington last season and that wasn’t the only time. With another year under his belt, he could be the most dominant defensive player in the league. — Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star

Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State: The reigning defensive lineman of the year, despite coming off a broken leg, will have a monster senior season for what could end up as the nation’s No. 1 defense. — Chris Solari, Detroit Free Pres

Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: Projected as a big season in the Big Ten for defensive ends, the Buckeyes junior is the class of the group. — Josh Newman, Asbury Park Press

Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: The 6-foot-5, 265-pound junior should be the Buckeyes’ most disruptive lineman. He led the team last season in sacks (10 ½), tackles for loss (15 ½) and quarterback hurries (nine). — Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Coach of the year

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost.

Jeff Brohm, Purdue: An offensive innovator with plenty of skill players at his disposal, he has a knack for recognizing and exploiting mismatches. — Mark Emmert, Des Moines Register

Ryan Day, Ohio State: The expectations are high after Day’s brief stint as interim coach, but he showed the ability to keep the Buckeyes humming along in the mold of Urban Meyer. — Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press

Scott Frost, Nebraska: Frost has perhaps the most exciting quarterback in the league and has implemented an offense that will work in the Big Ten. Will the defense hold up? We’ll see. — Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press

Scott Frost, Nebraska: Lincoln’s prodigal son should have the Cornhuskers right in the mix to win the Big Ten West. — Josh Newman, Asbury Park Press

Scott Frost, Nebraska  Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star

Scott Frost, Nebraska: The Big Ten West appears wide open this season. Frost will be hailed as a hero if Nebraska, which has a favorable schedule, can win the division after a 3-6 finish in 2018. — Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: If his program finally gets past Ohio State and over the hump in the Big Ten East. If not, Kirk Ferentz. — Graham Couch, Lansing State Journal