Hoosiers receive a smorgasbord of Big Ten, national honors

Indiana football players received a smorgasbord of honors Monday.

Receiver Ty Fryfogle (Biletnikoff Award), quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (O’Brien Award), and punter Haydon Whitehead (Guy Award) were named as semifinalists for their respective position awards nationally.

On top of those announcements, linebacker Micah McFadden and Whitehead were named the Big Ten’s defensive and special teams players of the week, respectively.

Fryfogle, who leads the Big Ten with 687 receiving yards, was one of 11 players named to the Biletnikoff list. He’s joined by Jonathan Adams Jr. (Arkansas State), Dyami Brown (North Carolina), Jaelon Darden (North Texas), Dax Milne (BYU), Elijah Moore (Ole Miss), Kyle Pitts (Florida), Amari Rodgers (Clemson), DeVonta Smith (Alabama), Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State), and Malon Williams (UCF).

A vote to determine three Biletnikoff finalists will run through Dec. 20, with the finalists announced on Dec. 22. The selection process will include a fan vote, which can be found at https://biletnikoffaward.com/fan-vote.

The quarterback who has been throwing Fryfogle the ball most of this season, Penix, is one of 17 finalists for the O’Brien Award. Penix will not, however, be eligible to be a finalist for the award because of a season-ending ACL injury. On the season,  the redshirt sophomore had 1,645 yards and 14 passing touchdowns.

Whitehead is one of 10 finalists for the Guy Award, chosen from a field of 69 nominees. The redshirt senior is averaging 42.4 yards on 36 punts, including nine inside the 20-yard line. Opponents have only returned two punts for a total of 14 yards on Whitehead. Like with the Biletnikoff Award, three finalists for the nation’s top punting award will be announced on Dec. 22.

Whitehead was also the co-Big Ten special teams player of the week. He pinned Wisconsin inside its own 20 on four occasions, including one inside the 1-yard line. This was the first conference player of the week honor in Whitehead’s career.

The Australian shared the Big Ten’s player of the week honor with Ohio State’s Drue Chrisman, who averaged 53.4 yards on his five punts against Michigan State. All five were downed inside the 20.

McFadden was also honored by the Big Ten for his exploits at Wisconsin. His nine-tackle performance, including two for loss, not only made him the conference’s defensive player of the week but also  the Walter Camp Foundation’s national defensive player of the week in the FBS ranks.

6 comments

  1. I expect a number of Hoosier to win awards by the time the season is over. I m glad Penix, Fryfogle, McFadden, and Whitehead were all recognized by different groups. Win a lot of games and the players gain attention for their play.

  2. Each of these players deserve all the recognition that can be bestowed upon them. And in addition, if Tom Allen isn’t named Big Ten Coach of the Year, something is terribly wrong. Who else even comes close to what he has achieved? In fact, he should be named FBS Coach of the Year.

  3. TA most definitely should be BigTen Coach of the Year and should get serious consideration for National Coach of the Year!

  4. Waited over 6 decades for a high flying FB team from Bloomington to be included in the pile of teams at the top. Even the Mallory years didn’t steel my pride as it is in this stretch with Coach Allen. Of course all the updates and improvements to MS facilities and support surroundings are part of that pride. Example like the weight room. It’s a good feeling the program can sustain success. I suspect next Fall there will be more pockets setting on seats game time.

    1. It sure got cozy to bash Fred Glass around these parts for many years (not you!). I saw what they were doing at MS and I was impressed. Talk about ROI. I’ve been in those facilities when they were upgraded and knew that Indiana was doing what it could to compete, while staying scrappy by necessity. Everyone knew that Indiana wouldn’t start generating revenue, until there was something compelling enough on the field to get people to migrate across the street and into the stadium.

      They had to get better recruits to Bloomington knowing that crowds would follow, not lead a better program.

      In 1997 – 1999, I lived across the street from MS. The IU football team under Cameron were practicing on a non-leveled field on the west side, pretty much adjacent to the parking lot. Nothing there looked different from what you had a Bloomington North 2 miles away. It was garbage. I went and visited a friend in Madison that summer and walking around campus and seeing the UW football facilities just depressed me. I knew that there was no coach on the planet that could get recruits to play for Indiana with the garbage we had.

      Allen has done an amazing job as coach. But look where all that talent has come from. There is no way all those Florida kids are turning down SEC school to come to Bloomington without those new facilities. I’m sure that is why Allen took the job, too. He knew he had enough to start getting kids to come play for him.

      Fred Glass is a human. There’s no binary here. I’m sure he would even say there are things he could have done better. But he absolutely nailed football, which pretty much the entire country thought would be the perennial college football punchline. And he also has the fortitude to jettison Kevin Wilson and knowing the Indiana University deserved better culturally and meritocratically. That move took guts knowing that the payoff would be far in the future, and at great risk.

  5. I agree with your post above DD. I posted the following comment a few days ago on another string:

    “Time for me to congratulate Fred Glass (again) for making TA IU’s head FB coach. And we need to recognize Glass for getting TA the financial resources necessary to get/keep quality assistant coaches while greatly improving IU’s FB facilities. I was often critical of Glass, but I must commend him for uplifting IU’s FB program.”

    Glass deserves great credit.

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