News & Analysis

College Football 2020: PFF’s All-Big Ten Team

Ohio State, led by start quarterback Justin Fields (1), was ranked No. 2 in the preseason coaches poll. Now, the Buckeyes and other Big Ten teams will remain idle until at least next spring. ghows-CK-200819941-1a1c9dc7.jpg

The 2020 college football regular season has officially come to a close, so now it’s time to recognize the nation's top players at every position by naming PFF's All-Conference teams.

With the help of PFF grades and advanced statistics — which are now available to PFF’s CFB Premium Stats+ Subscribers — we present to you the PFF 2020 All-Big Ten team.

QUARTERBACK

First-Team: Justin Fields, Ohio State

Despite having two of the worst passing outings of his college career this year, Fields has still managed to post a 92.5 PFF grade that ranks in the top five among FBS signal-callers. He has been that good through the air and on the ground in the other outings.

Fields’ accuracy has truly been the best we have seen from any quarterback this season. Over 73% of his passes have been deemed accurate by PFF’s ball-charting process, the highest rate in the FBS by more than three percentage points.

Second-Team: Michael Penix Jr., Indiana
Third-Team: Jack Plummer, Purdue
Honorable Mention: Peyton Ramsey, Northwestern

RUNNING BACKS

First-Team: Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota

Ibrahim was a true bell-cow back for Minnesota this season, as he averaged just under 30 carries a game. We all know how much the Golden Gophers love run-pass options, and over three-quarters of Ibrahim’s carries came on such plays. He made the most of that workload by posting an 82.6 rushing grade.

Second-Team: Jake Funk, Maryland
Third-Team: Tyler Goodson, Iowa
Honorable Mention: Mekhi Sargent, Iowa

First-Team: Trey Sermon, Ohio State

Sermon's performance in the Big Ten Championship game against Northwestern was one of the best we have ever seen at the position. In addition to a program-record 331 rushing yards, Sermon recorded a 93.6 rushing grade with nine explosive runs of 10-plus yards and 17 broken tackles on 291 carries.

Over the course of the 2020 season, he has busted off a 10-plus yard run at the third-highest rate in the Power Five (22.6%) — behind only North Carolina's formidable duo.

Second-Team: Hassan Haskins, Michigan
Third-Team: Chase Brown, Illinois
Honorable Mention: Zander Horvath, Purdue

WIDE RECEIVERS

First-Team: Ty Fryfogle, Indiana

Fryfogle had a big-time breakout year in 2020, with the backbone of his success coming from bodying defensive backs in tight coverage deep downfield thanks to his 6-foot-2, 214-pound frame.

Nov 14, 2020; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Ty Fryfogle (3) is unable to complete a pass during the third quarter as Michigan State Spartans safety Dominique Long (9) applies pressure at Spartan Stadium. Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Hoosier led all Power Five receivers in receiving grade on contested targets and had two more explosive receptions of 15-plus yards on contested targets than anyone in that group (nine).

Second-Team: Chris Olave, Ohio State
Third-Team: David Pell, Purdue
Honorable Mention: Whop Philyor, Indiana

First-Team: Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Bateman played in five games before deciding to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft and put up impressive numbers in that limited action.

He was great against single coverage and also picked apart zone coverage, which led to him leading the conference with 3.45 yards per route run.

Second-Team: Rondale Moore, Purdue
Third-Team: Wan'Dale Robinson, Nebraska
Honorable Mention: Chris Autman-Bell, Minnesota

First-Team: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Wilson has continued the trend of elite Ohio State route-runners; he routinely created separation in 2020. Among all FBS wide receivers, Wilson ranks sixth in percentage of total targets in which he was deemed open.

Second-Team: Jahan Dotson, Penn State
Third-Team: Bo Melton, Rutgers
Honorable Mention: Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, Northwestern

TIGHT END

First-Team: Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

Freiermuth played in only four games this year but was fed a whopping 37 targets. And he recorded an 83.0 PFF grade, ranking ninth in the FBS.

Freiermuth also managed to haul in the eighth-most contested catches (eight) among FBS tight ends and the most at the position in the Big Ten.

Second-Team: Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin
Third-Team: Sam LaPorta, Iowa
Honorable Mention: Shaun Beyer, Iowa

LEFT TACKLE

First-Team: Thayer Munford, Ohio State

Munford was a quality starter for the Buckeyes in 2018 and 2019. But this year, he hasn’t been just a good left tackle. He has been an elite one.

Munford is one of just three Power Five tackles with a grade above 85.0 as both a pass-blocker and a run-blocker. The senior has allowed just two total pressures (both hurries) in five games. That’s quite impressive for a left tackle.

Second-Team: Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Third-Team: Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin
Honorable Mention: Alaric Jackson, Iowa

LEFT GUARD

First-Team: Kendrick Green, Illinois

Green was one of the top guards in the Big Ten last year, but it was solely because of his run blocking. He posted an 83.3 grade in that facet, but in pass protection, he earned a mere mid-60s grade.

This season, however, Green has gone from a so-so pass-protector to a great one, and from a great run-blocker to a near-elite one. He raised his pass-blocking grade to 75.2 and his run-blocking grade to 87.4.

Second-Team: Cody Ince, Iowa
Third-Team: Jon Dietzen, Wisconsin
Honorable Mention: Mike Miranda, Penn State

CENTER

First-Team: Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

Just two years ago, Linderbaum was finishing up his first year on campus as a defensive tackle for the Hawkeyes. Now, he’s the best center in college football.

Linderbaum flipped to the offensive side of the ball before last season, and he impressed immediately, earning an 81.7 PFF grade. He improved that grade to 91.5 this season, the best at the position since Frank Ragnow's 92.3 mark with Arkansas in 2016.

Second-Team: John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
Third-Team: Kendrick Green, Illinois
Honorable Mention: Johnny Jordan, Maryland

RIGHT GUARD

First-Team: Cole Banwart, Iowa

Banwart had an injury-riddled 2019 that limited him to only three games, but he bounced back in a big way this season. His pass protection, in particular, was nearly flawless.

Banwart ranked second among all Power Five right guards in pass-blocking grade on true pass sets and allowed just three total pressures over eight games.

Second-Team: Conner Olson, Minnesota
Third-Team: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Honorable Mention: Logan Bruss, Wisconsin

RIGHT TACKLE

First-Team: Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State

Petit-Frere is one of the biggest surprises among all offensive linemen in the country this season. In 2019, he looked like he had a long way to go before becoming a premier tackle, playing only 240 snaps and earning a poor 59.2 PFF grade.

This year, though, Petit-Frere defied the odds and rebounded. There hasn’t been a better pass-protecting right tackle in the Power Five than him. He ranks first in the Power Five in pass-blocking grade on true pass sets and has allowed just one pressure on the year. 

Second-Team: Blaise Andries, Minnesota
Third-Team: Will Fries, Penn State
Honorable Mention: Tyler Beach, Wisconsin

INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

First-Team: Haskell Garrett, Ohio State

Garrett, a 2017 four-star recruit, has finally taken on a starting job this year, and the results have been everything Ohio State coaches and fans dreamt of.

The defensive tackle has emerged as the highest-graded interior defender in the FBS (91.4), and his work as a pass-rusher is the key reason why. Garrett has won 22% of his pass-rush reps this season, a rate that leads all Power Five interior defensive linemen by nearly four percentage points.

Second-Team: Tommy Togiai, Ohio State
Third-Team: Antonio Shelton, Penn State
Honorable Mention: Jovan Swann, Indiana

First-Team: Ben Stille, Nebraska

Stille has developed into one of the top pass-rushing defensive tackles in the FBS. He plays almost exclusively 3-technique in the Cornhuskers’ defense, ranking 10th in the FBS in pass-rush grade at that alignment.

Second-Team: Jack Heflin, Iowa
Third-Team: Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
Honorable Mention: Mosiah Nasili-Kite, Maryland

EDGE DEFENDER

First-Team: Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State

Cooper took a redshirt in 2019 due to missing significant time with an injury and has come back in 2020 stronger than ever. He has been uber-productive as a pass-rusher, notching the fifth-highest pressure rate among FBS edge rushers (20.3%). 

Second-Team: Jayson Oweh, Penn State
Third-Team: Shaka Toney, Penn State
Honorable Mention: Boye Mafe, Minnesota

First-Team: Kwity Paye, Michigan

Paye played in only four games this year, but his production was truly stupefying. All Paye did was win as a pass-rusher. He won on 26% of his pass-rush reps in those four games, trailing only PFF first-team All-American Nik Bonitto and PFF third-team All-American Jordan Smith for the best in the FBS.

Second-Team: Chauncey Golston, Iowa
Third-Team: Drew Beesley, Michigan State
Honorable Mention: Tyreke Smith, Ohio State

LINEBACKER

First-Team: Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin

It didn’t matter if Sanborn was in coverage, blitzing or defending the run — he was always doing his job at a high level for the Badgers. The first two aren’t much of a surprise to see, but the latter definitely is.

Nov 21, 2020; Evanston, Illinois, USA;Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Jack Sanborn (57) defends Northwestern Wildcats running back Cam Porter (20) during the second half at Ryan Field. Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Sanborn had a 56.5 run-defense grade in 2019 before raising that mark to 85.7 this year (14th in the FBS).

Second-Team: Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
Third-Team: Chris Bergin, Northwestern
Honorable Mention: Chance Campbell, Maryland

First-Team: Micah McFadden, Indiana

McFadden was one of the conference’s top blitz weapons in 2019, and head coach Tom Allen and defensive coordinator Kane Wommack (who recently accepted the South Alabama head coaching job) made sure to use that to their advantage this season.

Whether it was a traditional or replace blitz, McFadden rushed the passer 103 times this season and picked up 27 pressures en route to the second-best pass-rushing grade in the FBS at the position (91.3).

Second-Team: Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State
Third-Team: Nick Niemann, Iowa
Honorable Mention: Baron Browning, Ohio State

CORNERBACK

First-Team: Shakur Brown, Michigan State

Brown began the year in the slot before moving to the outside two games into the season. Regardless of where he lined up, he made plays.

Along with having the seventh-best coverage grade in the FBS (84.2), Brown tied for the most interceptions at the position (five).

Second-Team: Riley Moss, Iowa
Third-Team: Avery Young, Rutgers
Honorable Mention: Sevyn Banks, Ohio State

First-Team: Greg Newsome II, Northwestern

Newsome took a massive step forward in 2020. He performed relatively poorly as an underclassman in 2018 and 2019, with coverage grades of 53.2 and 59.4. Yet, he was one of the best corners in the entire country this season.

Newsome allowed just 93 yards and five first downs in six games while forcing nine incompletions and making an interception.

Second-Team: AJ Hampton, Northwestern
Third-Team: Jaylin Williams, Indiana
Honorable Mention: Shaun Wade, Ohio State

SAFETY

First-Team: Jaquan Brisker, Penn State

Brisker went from Lackawanna Community College to first-team PFF All-American in just two years.

No FBS safety recorded a better PFF grade while in the box, and Brisker quite easily displayed the best tackling ability of any player at the position, as he missed just one of his 60 tackle attempts on the year.

That success combined with his performance against the run in the box and his playmaking in coverage (seven plays on the ball, five passing stops) led Brisker to a Power Five-best 85.6 PFF grade.

Second-Team: Jamar Johnson, Indiana
Third-Team: Eric Burrell, Wisconsin
Honorable Mention: Justus Harris, Minnesota

First-Team: Brandon Joseph, Northwestern

Joseph was among the biggest breakouts in college football this season. He entered the year with just three career coverage snaps to his name and closed out the season ranking fourth in the FBS in coverage grade (87.5).

Joseph was a true playmaker for Northwestern, as he came away with six interceptions while allowing only two first downs in coverage.

Second-Team: Nick Cross, Maryland
Third-Team: Jack Koerner, Iowa
Honorable Mention: Daxton Hill, Michigan

FLEX D

First-Team: JoJo Domann, Nebraska

Domann was one of the top slot defenders in college football this season. His slot coverage grade ranked sixth-best in the country and the best in the Big Ten among those to play at least 100 coverage snaps at the position.

Second-Team: Tiawan Mullen, Indiana
Third-Team: Tarheeb Still, Maryland
Honorable Mention: Bryant Fitzgerald, Indiana

KICKER

First-Team: Charles Campbell, Indiana
Second-Team: Keith Duncan, Iowa
Third-Team: Charlie Kuhbander, Northwestern
Honorable Mention: Connor Culp, Nebraska

PUNTER

First-Team: Tory Taylor, Iowa
Second-Team: Blake Hayes, Illinois
Third-Team: Adam Korsak, Rutgers
Honorable Mention: Brad Robbins, Michigan

KR/PR

First-Team: Aron Cruickshank, Rutgers
Second-Team: Charlie Jones, Iowa
Third-Team: Jayden Reed, Michigan State
Honorable Mention: Giles Jackson, Michigan

College Featured Tools

  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

    CFB Grades+
  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NCAA player performance data.

    Available with

    CFB Prem Stats+
  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NCAA game.

    Available with

    Elite CFB Prem Stats+
College Subscriptions

Unlock College Player Grades and Preview Magazine

$7.99 / mo
$27.99 / yr

Unlock NCAA Premium Stats & PFF Greenline NCAA

$29.99 / mo
$119.99 / yr