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ESPN.com's midseason All-Big Ten team

10/19/2013

We've reflected on the first half of the Big Ten season, evaluated each team and looked ahead to what promises to be a more exciting second half.

As we put a bow on the first half, we're selecting a midseason All-Big Ten team. This list certainly isn't as significant as the postseason squad, but these players merit recognition for their performances during the first seven weeks of the season.

The envelope, please ...

OFFENSE

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois

RB: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

RB: Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

WR: Allen Robinson, Penn State

WR: Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin

TE: Ted Bolser, Indiana

C: Corey Linsley, Ohio State

OL: Spencer Long, Nebraska

OL: Brandon Scherff, Iowa

OL:
Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin

OL:
Jack Mewhort, Ohio State

DEFENSE

DE: Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

DT: DaQuan Jones, Penn State

DE: Tyler Scott, Northwestern

LB: Chris Borland, Wisconsin

LB: Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

LB: Max Bullough, Michigan State

LB: James Morris, Iowa

DB: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

DB: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska

DB: Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern

DB: Blake Countess, Michigan

SPECIALISTS

K: Jeff Budzien, Northwestern

P: Mike Sadler, Michigan State

KR: Marcus Jones, Minnesota

PR: Kevonte Martin-Manley, Iowa

We'll start with the quarterback spot, which has been underwhelming around most of the league, partly because of injury. It was a close call between Scheelhaase and Penn State true freshman Christian Hackenberg, but Scheelhaase gets a slight edge with more touchdown passes and fewer interceptions. We had another tough decision at the No. 2 running back spot between Abdullah and Iowa's Mark Weisman, who has been very productive so far. Ultimately, Abdullah has made more out of his carries and got the nod.

The Big Ten's depth at linebacker prompted us to go with a 3-4 defensive alignment for the midseason team. We had some debate for the lone defensive tackle spot between Jones, Ohio State's Michael Bennett and Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman, but went with Jones, the league's leader in tackles for loss (8.5). Linebacker is so deep that it was tough limiting the list to only four. We ultimately went with Morris over Illinois' Jonathan Brown because Morris has made more game-changing plays. Cornerback has been a deeper position than safety through the first half, so we went with three corners and only one safety.

Kick returner was another close call between Minnesota's Jones and Illinois' V'Angelo Bentley.