Darqueze Dennard and Shilique Calhoun won the top Big Ten awards at their positions earlier this month and were today tabbed as All-Americans by USA Today.
Dennard was named to the first team and Calhoun earned second team honors from USA Today. Both have played big roles in leading a Michigan State defense that has been the nation’s best throughout the season.
Dennard, a senior cornerback, and Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier were the only two Big Ten players named as first team All-Americans. Other Big Ten players on the second team besides Calhoun included Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien.
Dennard had four interceptions and 10 pass breakups this season for the Spartans. Two of those pass breakups came in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game win over previously unbeaten Ohio State. Dennard, who earlier today also was named the winner of the Jack Tatum Award (nation’s top defensive back), is fourth on the Spartans with 59 tackles.
Calhoun, a sophomore defensive end, has 7.5 sacks and 14 tackles in his first season as a starter.
The No. 4 Spartans will conclude their season against No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
Stanford had four players named All-Americans with offensive lineman Davis Yankey and returner Ty Montgomery earning first team honors and running back Tyler Gaffney and linebacker Trent Murphy being named to the second team.