The Gophers hadn’t been honored with a first-team All-Big Ten football selection since Eric Decker in 2009. This year, they have two.
Big Ten coaches voted defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman and defensive back Brock Vereen onto the first-team all-conference list Monday. Hageman also received first-team honors from the media, which made Vereen an honorable mention selection.
In addition, sophomore defensive end Theiren Cockran was named second-team All-Big Ten by the media.
Other honorable mention selections for the Gophers included junior guard Caleb Bak (coaches and media) sophomore punter Peter Mortell (coaches and media), sophomore cornerback Eric Murray (coaches and media), senior linebacker Aaron Hill (coaches), sophomore tackle Josh Campion (media) and junior guard Zac Epping (media).
The Gophers had nine players honored by the Big Ten after having four honored last year. That coincides with the team’s improvement from 2-6 in the Big Ten last year to 4-4 this year.
Hageman is the first Gopher named first-team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media since Decker in 2008. Decker’s first-team selection in 2009 was coaches only. He has since become a standout receiver for the Denver Broncos.
The Gophers believe Hageman and Vereen have bright futures, too. Those two seniors and Cockran have been cornerstones of this year’s defense.
Hageman has 34 tackles, including a team-high 11 tackles for a loss and two sacks. He also has eight pass breakups, one fumble recovery, one interception, one blocked field goal and one blocked extra point.
Vereen has 56 tackles, including 2½ tackles for loss, one interception, six pass breakups and one forced fumble.
Cockran has 29 tackles, including 10 tackles for a loss and a team-high 7½ sacks. He also had four forced fumbles, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery.