Gophers junior Dragan Kesich was named Big Ten kicker of the year, while senior safety Tyler Nubin joined Kesich as a first-team All-Big Ten honoree in votes of both coaches and media members.
The Big Ten announced its defensive and special teams honorees Tuesday, and Kesich and Nubin received the highest honors of seven Gophers mentioned.
Defensive back Justin Walley earned honorable mention from the coaches and media, while Walley, punter Mark Crawford and defensive linemen Kyler Baugh, Jah Joyner and Danny Striggow received media honorable mention.
Kesich led the Gophers in scoring with 90 points during the regular season and is tied for fifth in the conference with 7.5 points per game. He's made 22 of 26 field-goal attempts and is 24-for-24 on point-after attempts. He ranks eighth in the nation in field goals made (22), sixth in field goals attempted (26) and tied for 24th in field goal percentage (84.6%).
Nubin made 53 tackles, intercepted five passes and had four pass breakups this season. Against Wisconsin on Saturday, he intercepted the 13th pass of his Gophers career, breaking a tie for the program record.
Here are the Big Ten defensive and special teams honorees. Offensive honors will be announced Wednesday.
Coach of the year: David Braun, Northwestern (both media and coaches vote).
Defensive player of the year: Jer'Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois
Defensive lineman of the year: Newton
Linebacker of the year: Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State
Defensive back of the year: Cooper DeJean, Iowa
Kicker of the year: Kesich
Return specialist of the year: DeJean
RB Williams enters portal
Gophers true freshman running back Marquese Williams of Harrisburg, Pa., announced on X that he's entering the transfer portal. Williams, a three-star recruit, did not play this season.
Walk-on players to transfer
Three Gophers walk-on players — running back Max Grand, wide receiver Zach Jorgensen and defensive lineman Colton Gregersen — announced on the X platform that they will enter the transfer portal