ROSEMONT, Ill. — Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald is the unanimous choice for Big Ten coach of the year.
The conference on Tuesday announced half its postseason awards based on voting by coaches and media. Fitzgerald led the Wildcats (8-4) to the West Division title after going winless in nonconference play and losing several starters to injuries.
Michigan’s Devin Bush is defensive player of the year and top linebacker. Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes was voted top defensive lineman and Iowa’s Amani Hooker top defensive back.
Michigan had five players named to the coaches’ All-Big Ten first-team defense, with Bush joined by Chase Winovich, Rashan Gary, Lavert Hill and David Long. Other picks were Joe Bachie and Willekes of Michigan State, Dre’Mont Jones of Ohio State, Paddy Fisher of Northwestern and Amani Oruwariye of Penn State.
Three out at USC
LOS ANGELES — Offensive coordinator Tee Martin is one of three USC assistants who are not being retained by coach Clay Helton following the Trojans’ first losing season in 18 years.
The school on Tuesday announced the departures of Martin, defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze and Ronnie Bradford (defensive backs). USC also said quarterbacks coach Bryan Ellis has left the staff to pursue another opportunity. In October, offensive line coach Neil Callaway was fired.
Helton took away play-calling responsibility from Martin during the season. The Trojans were 83rd in the FBS in total offense, 91st in scoring and 108th in rushing.
USC lost five of its final six games, capped by back-to-back defeats by archrivals UCLA and Notre Dame. The Trojans will not be going to a bowl game in a non-probation season for the first time since 2000.
Athletic director Lynn Swann announced Sunday that he is keeping Helton as coach based on previous success and Swann’s desire for continuity.
Helton is 32-17 in his first head coaching job, which began midway through the 2015 season. USC won the Rose Bowl two years ago to cap a nine-game winning streak, and it won the Pac-12 title last season.
UCF QB still recovering
ORLANDO, Fla. — The family of Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton says he has nerve damage in his right leg, but “blood flow has been restored” and he is recovering from the injury suffered during UCF’s last game.
Milton was carted off the field during the first half of the Knights’ victory at rival South Florida on Friday after getting injured while being tackled. He has been treated at Tampa General Hospital.
Milton’s family released a statement Tuesday thanking the doctors and nurses at the hospital and the medical and athletic training staffs at UCF and USF.
The family says the nerve in Milton’s leg was “injured but intact.” He will have reconstructive knee surgery at an undetermined date.
No. 7 UCF hosts Memphis in the American Athletic Conference championship game Saturday.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Rashan Gary is entering the NFL draft and skipping his senior season at Michigan.
The standout defensive end made the announcement Monday on YouTube.
It was not immediately clear if the 6-foot-5, 281-pound Gary plans to play for the eighth-ranked Wolverines (10-2) in their bowl game.
Michigan may also lose other players with college eligibility, including junior linebacker Devin Bush and quarterback Shea Patterson, to the draft. Patterson’s father said recently he hasn’t talked with his son about what he will do, saying it was false to suggest a decision to go pro has been made to avoid being part of a stronger class of quarterback prospects in 2020.