Football: 14 Wildcats earn Big Ten end-of-year honors


Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

Chris Bergin (28) flexes after a tackle. Bergin, Paddy Fisher (42) and Greg Newsome (2) were All-Big Ten honorees.

Ella Brockway, Gameday Editor


Two weeks after adding the first piece of hardware to its 2020 trophy cabinet — a West Division title for the second time in three years — Northwestern saw 14 of its players earn end-of-year honors from the Big Ten this week.

Redshirt freshman safety Brandon Joseph, junior cornerback Greg Newsome and senior linebacker Paddy Fisher were each recognized with consensus spots on the All-Big Ten first team. Joseph, who has debuted this year as one of the top defensive backs in the nation with five interceptions, was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.

Fisher received his second career All-Big Ten first team nod after also earning the honor in 2018. The Texas native, who currently holds the most career tackles among all active FBS players, additionally became the first linebacker in program history to receive the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award.

Newsome earned the first All-Big Ten nod of his career, which comes amid a standout junior campaign. He has recorded nine pass breakups and an interception, leading one of NU’s best secondary units in recent years.

Fellow senior linebackers Blake Gallagher and Chris Bergin earned second team and honorable mention nods, respectively. Sophomore defensive end Eku Leota was named to the media’s third team and was an honorable mention among the coaches. Senior defensive end Earnest Brown IV earned a consensus honorable mention, and senior safety JR Pace rounded out the defensive honorees with an honorable mention from the media.

On the offensive end, true freshman offensive tackle Peter Skoronski and graduate quarterback Peyton Ramsey led the selections. Skoronski earned second team honors from the media, and third from the coaches. The Park Ridge native has been recognized throughout this season as one of the top offensive linemen in the nation, and has helped the unit allow only 1.29 sacks per game.

Ramsey has powered a resurgent NU offense thus far in 2020, throwing for 1,218 yards and nine touchdowns. Two of his targets — graduate tight end John Raine and senior wide receiver Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman — also earned All-Big Ten honorable mentions.

Senior kicker Charlie Kuhbander and graduate punter Derek Adams rounded out the selections, each earning honorable mentions on the special teams end. Kuhbander has hit eight field goals and is a perfect 21-for-21 this season on extra points, while Adams, a transfer from Kent State, ranks third in the conference in punts falling within the 20-yard line.

The Cats will hope to add to their hardware collection on Saturday against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.

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