COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Senior linebacker Tre Watson, senior defensive back Darnell Savage Jr. and junior defensive back Antoine Brooks, Jr. highlight eight Maryland football student-athletes that earned All-Big Ten accolades Nov. 27 as the league announced defensive and special teams honorees.
Watson was named First Team All-Big Ten by the media and Second Team All-Big Ten by the coaches. The senior linebacker is the first Maryland defensive player to earn first team all-league honors since Yannick Ngakoue in 2015.
Savage garnered Second Team All-Big Ten honors from both the media and coaches, while Brooks was named Second Team All-Big Ten by the coaches and honorable mention all-conference by the media. It marks the second consecutive year both players earned all-league recognition.
Senior defensive end Byron Cowart and junior defensive back Tino Ellis were each named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, while on special teams, senior punter Wade Lees, freshman kicker Joseph Petrino and senior kick returner Ty Johnson were also selected as Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honorees by both the coaches and media.
With the offensive All-Big Ten selections still to be announced, Maryland's eight all-league honorees already matches its most ever since joining the conference in 2014. In its inaugural year in the league, the Terps had eight total selections, its most ever prior to this season.
Watson leads the Big Ten in both total tackles (115) and interceptions (5). His five interceptions ranks tied for fifth nationally and is the most in program history for a linebacker. Watson's 5.9 solo tackles per game ranks 13th nationally.
Savage is tied for second in the Big Ten and ranks 13 nationally with four interceptions. The senior ranks second on the team with 5.5 tackles for loss and fourth in total tackles (51). The anchor of Maryland's defense, Savage ended his Terps career with 30 consecutive starts.
A dynamic playmaker, Brooks led the Terps with 9.5 tackles for loss. The junior started all 12 games and ranked third on the team with 68 tackles. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after leading the team with 11 tackles and snagging the game-sealing interception in Maryland's win against Texas.
Cowart led the Terps with 3.0 sacks and was tied for third on the squad with 5.0 tackles for loss. He started all 12 games and recorded interceptions against Rutgers and Michigan State. Cowart posted a career-high seven tackles at Iowa.
Ellis paced the Terps and ranked seventh in the Big Ten with 12 passes defended. He recorded a career-high five pass breakups against Minnesota, a mark that is tied for the most in a single game across the country this season. The junior, who started all 12 games at cornerback, posted five tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss in Maryland's win against Texas.
Lees placed in impressive 28 punts inside the 20, with 18 of them dropping inside the 10. He had six games this season where at least three punts landed inside the 20, including five against Rutgers. Honored as the Ray Guy Punter of the Week on September 24, Lees had nine punts of more than 50 yards this season.
Petrino led the Big Ten for all kickers who attempted at least 10 field goals by connecting on 12 of 14 tries (85.7%) during his freshman season. He started his career by making his first 11 field goal attempts. Petrino made all four field goals he attempted against Indiana, becoming the first Terrapin kicker with four field goals in a game since Nick Ferrara in 2011.
Johnson led the Terps and ranked fourth in the Big Ten by averaging 27.2 yards per kick return. The highlight of Johnson's season came when he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown at Michigan. The senior moved into third all-time in school history with 4,518 career all-purpose yards. Johnson ends his outstanding Terps career with 1,194 career kick return yards.
The league also announced senior defensive lineman Brett Kulka as Maryland's sportsmanship award honoree Nov. 27.
The Big Ten will announce the offensive all-conference selections Nov. 28.
-- Maryland Athletics press release
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox