The All Big-10 teams were announced today, and boy do I have a bone to pick with both the coaches and the writers.
Um, how in the world does Khaleke Hudson not sniff the first team? Depending on whether you considered Hudson a defensive back or a linebacker, that gave him seven potential spots to fill on the first-team (technically 14 if you want to look at both the media and coaches’ teams). There were seven linebackers and defensive backs better than #7 this year? Absolutely the hell not. Let’s examine:
2017: 72 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions
I want to start holistically because Hudson’s impact was felt everywhere. On any given play, he’d line up outside on a receiver, isolated as a single high safety, inside the A-gap, or stand up at defensive end.
That’s just the beginning of it. Defensively, Hudson picked up right where his predecessor, Jabrill Peppers, left off. Wherever Don Brown needed his new toy to line up, he did — and he excelled.
Statistically, Hudson actually had a better year than Peppers, and many would argue that the film backs up the data. In the same amount of games, Hudson matched Jabrill’s tackle total (72) and outpaced him across the rest of the board: more sacks (7 vs 4), interceptions (2 vs 1), forced fumbles (2 vs 1), and tackles for loss (16.5 vs 15). He didn’t get the hype, but he was every bit the superstar Peppers was on defense.
Jabrill was a unanimous selection to all of the Big-10 teams. INSERT HAND ON CHIN PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE EMOJI
Hudson’s 72 tackles tops the other defensive backs on the first-teams and is actually better than Wisconsin’s T.J. Edwards’ 67. Tackles are a weird stat, and Hudson’s numbers are skewed by his position in comparison to the other DBs, but he was still in the top 30 of the conference.
Khaleke had 7 total sacks this year, good for fourth in the conference and better than any of the 10-players who earned first-team honors ahead of him. Indiana’s Tegray Scales is the closest with 6, and Devin Bush comes in with 5.5. Those are the only other two in the top-20 of the conference.
Let’s move to tackles for loss, because we ARE dealing with a record-holder here. Against Minnesota, Hudson tied an NCAA record with 8 tackles for loss against the Gophers. I think he also had a sack and a half in a game where he just went ballistic. His 16.5 tackles for loss this season puts him second in the conference behind only his teammate, Chase Winovich. TFLs can be a weirdly calculated stat, but again, we’re going by the conference’s official book.
All four first-team linebackers selected over the two teams find themselves ranked in the Big 10’s top 20 in tackles for loss, but Hudson still finds himself with a CLEAR advantage.
Big Ten LB TFLs
|Player||Tackles for Loss||Yardage|
|Player||Tackles for Loss||Yardage|
While at this point it should be abundantly clear that Michigan’s Viper got snubbed, let’s dig further and take a look at his numbers in the passing game, as well as turnovers. Hudson ranks 20th in passes defended this season, behind Josh Jackson, Nick Nelson, Josey Jewell, Denzel Ward, and T.J. Edwards. Well, he’s still ahead of Marcus Allen, Devin Bush, D’Cota Dixon, and Tegray Scales — and tied with MSU’s David Dowell.
Turnover plays are inherently important and while Hudson didn’t go bananas like Josh Jackson did, he still forced his fair share. Only Edwards, Jackson, and Dowell had more interceptions than Hudson’s 2, while his 2 forced fumbles stand at the top alone. Yes, another category where #7 is ranked ahead of every single person who was selected instead of him. I’m sure that shocks you at this point.
So, let’s recap: Across a number of statistics, Hudson finished no worse than sixth out of 11 when compared to the 10 guys who beat him out for all-conference honors, and landed at the top of a number of categories. I’ll just leave this here:
- Tackles - 4th
- Tackles for Loss - 1st
- Sacks - 1st
- Passes Defended - 6th
- Interceptions - 4th
- Forced Fumbles - 1st
Voters, y’all done messed up.