December 5, 2003
Bloomington, Ind. - A quartet of Indiana football players earned Freshman All-Big Ten honors from The Sporting News, the magazine announced today. Making it even more impressive is the fact that three of the four were true freshmen.
Safety Will Meyers led the way for Indiana, as he was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the Year. Meyers ranked third on the team with 83 tackles (65 solo). His two sacks were good for third on the team as well. Meyers forced four fumbles on the year and finished with 3.5 tackles for loss.
"This is a great honor," Meyers said. "Especially in a conference as talented as the Big Ten where there are so many great players to choose from. Our defensive scheme was one that really put me in positions to be involved in the action, and even though I'd much rather be going to a bowl game with this team, it is nice to be recognized like this. Hopefully this helps as a springboard as we work in the offseason."
He is the first Hoosier to receive such a prestigious freshman honor since Antwaan Randle El earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year recognition in 1998.
Meyers exploded onto the scene in his second game at the collegiate level, registering 13 tackles, forcing a fumble and recovering a fumble at Washington on September 6. From there, he went on to force at least one fumble in each of the team's next three games.
The Chesterfield, Mo., product notched nine tackles against both Minnesota and Illinois, then put a cap on his productive freshman campaign by recording eight tackles with one sack for 13 yards against rival Purdue in the season finale.
Joining Meyers on The Sporting News' Freshman All-Big Ten team were running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, quarterback Graeme McFarland and linebacker Jake Powers.
Green-Ellis emerged as a threat out of the backfield as the year wore on, finishing the season with 225 carries for 938 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns. He also made 15 catches for 168 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown reception against Kentucky.
The New Orleans native had a career day for the Hoosiers at Penn State, carrying the ball 42 times for 203 yards. In doing so, he became only the third true freshman in Indiana history to run for over 200 yards in a single game. Green-Ellis' performance in Happy Valley marked just one of his four 100-yard rushing days on the year (155 yards on 35 carries against Purdue, 136 yards on 25 carries against Northwestern and 107 yards on 20 carries against Indiana State) In addition, Green-Ellis carried the ball 25 times for 98 yards against Illinois and 24 times for 90 yards at Michigan State.
Green-Ellis' seven rushing touchdowns were the most by a true freshman since Alex Smith had 10 touchdowns in 1994. The last time a true freshman led the Hoosiers in touchdowns was in 1997 (De'Wayne Hogan-4).
McFarland made the All-Freshman team by completing 18 of his 36 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown. McFarland's two most prominent performances came against Ohio State and Minnesota, respectively. Against the Buckeyes, McFarland came on late in the game to complete all six of his pass attempts and march the Hoosiers 54 yards downfield, culminating with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Chris Taylor.
McFarland started the next game at Minnesota after Matt LoVecchio sustained an injury that kept him on the sidelines. McFarland played the entire game, finishing with 152 yards on 12-of-30 passing. He missed the final three games of the year after sustaining an injury.
Jake Powers came on strong this year. The Danville, Ind., product finished the season with 44 tackles (32 solo) despite his small frame (6-3, 215 pounds). Powers had two tackles for loss, including a sack and fumble recovery against Ohio State.
THE SPORTING NEWS BIG TEN ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
WR Lonnie Hurst, 6-3, 192, Illinois
WR Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 170, Ohio State*
TE Matt Spaeth, 6-6, 265, Minnesota*
OL (T) Mike Otto, 6-5, 295, Purdue*
OL (T) Levi Brown, 6-5, 312, Penn State*
OL (G) Mike Jones, 6-5, 304, Iowa
OL (G) Matt Maddox, 6-4, 290, Illinois*
OL (C) Trevor Rees, 6-2, 275, Northwestern
QB Graeme McFarland, 6-1, 203, Indiana
RB Laurence Maroney, 5-11, 200, Minnesota
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 6-1, 220, Indiana
E LaMarr Woodley, 6-2, 261, Michigan
E Ray Edwards, 6-6, 246, Purdue
T Jay Alford, 6-3, 273, Penn State*
T Ed Johnson, 6-2, 242, Penn State*
LB Jake Powers, 6-3, 215, Indiana
LB Edmund Miles, 6-1, 217, Iowa*
LB Paul Posluszny, 6-2, 216, Penn State
CB Leon Hall, 6-1, 170, Michigan
CB Trumaine Banks, 5-10, 190, Minnesota*
S Will Meyers, 6-0, 190, Indiana
S Bernard Pollard, 6-2, 212, Purdue
K Garrett Rivas, 5-10, 180, Michigan
P Brandon Fields, 6-5, 219, Michigan State*
KR Jerome Brooks, 5-10, 185, Purdue*
Offensive freshman of the year: Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
Defensive freshman of the year: Will Meyers, S, Indiana