Senior safety Nathan Gerry was recognized on both the Big Ten coaches and media all-conference teams, leading Nebraska’s defensive and special teams honorees.
Gerry was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the media panel, while earning third-team All-Big Ten honors from the conference coaches. The 2016 season marks the third consecutive year Gerry has earned either second- or third-team All-Big Ten recognition.
Gerry was among the leaders of the 2016 Blackshirt defense, which ranked as one of the nation’s most improved defensive units. Gerry finished the regular season second for the Huskers in total tackles with 74, including 47 solo stops. His seven tackles for loss were tied for fourth among all Husker defenders, with his four interceptions and eight pass breakups ranking second on the team.
Gerry enters the bowl game with 273 career tackles to rank in a tie for sixth in school history. His 13 career interceptions are one shy of the Nebraska career record.
Four other members of the Blackshirt defense were named honorable-mention all-conference on both the media and coaches’ teams. The group includes senior defensive end Ross Dzuris, senior defensive tackle Kevin Maurice, senior linebacker Josh Banderas and junior cornerback Chris Jones.
Dzuris leads Nebraska with 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss this season, while racking up 43 total tackles. Maurice was a mainstay in the middle of the defensive line, starting all 12 games and finishing with 35 tackles and four sacks.
Banderas leads the Huskers with 89 tackles, including 38 solo stops and eight tackles for loss. He has recorded at least eight tackles in seven straight games heading into the bowl game. Jones led the Huskers with nine pass breakups, while adding three interceptions, including a return for a touchdown at Indiana.
In addition to the Huskers’ defensive honorees, Nebraska had two special teams performers earn honorable-mention accolades. Place-kicker Drew Brown was an honorable-mention choice by the media, after connecting on 11-of-13 field goals and all 35 of his extra-point attempts. De’Mornay Pierson-El was an honorable-mention choice as a return specialist on both teams. Pierson-El averaged 7.3 yards on punt returns.
The conference also announced the Sportsmanship Award winner from each of the 14 schools, with senior tight end Sam Cotton earning Nebraska’s honor.
The Big Ten will announce the offensive award winners and all-conference teams on Wednesday.
All-Big Ten Honors
Nathan Gerry—Second-Team, Media; Third-Team, Coaches
Josh Banderas (Media, Coaches); Ross Dzuris (Media, Coaches); Chris Jones (Media, Coaches); Kevin Maurice (Media, Coaches); Drew Brown (Media); De’Mornay Pierson-El (Media, Coaches)
Sportsmanship Award: Sam Cotton, TE