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Big Ten Network All-Decade Team: Darqueze Dennard Selected As Honoree

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Ohio State Buckeyes v Michigan State Spartans 12-7-2013 Photo by David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images

To no one’s surprise, the Michigan State Spartans Jim Thorpe Award Winner Darqueze Dennard was selected as a top cornerback honoree in the Big Ten Network All-Decade Team’s selection for defensive backs announced today.

The Dry Branch, Georgia native arrived at MSU as a relatively unheralded three-star recruit. He would leave as one of the best cornerbacks in MSU history. Dennard’s individual career highs include nine tackles against Minnesota, seven tackles for loss at Notre Dame, two interceptions at Iowa, and three pass break-ups versus Western Michigan in the 2013 season.

Over the course of his career, the defensive back would log 104 solo tackles, 10 interceptions, and a touchdown against Georgia in the 2011 Outback Bowl. Dennard was the epitome of the #NoFlyZone defense, and went on to become the first Spartan to earn the Jim Thorpe Award in 2013, along with also being the first Spartan to earn unanimous Consensus All-American honors off his 32 solo tackles, 28 assists, and four interceptions.

Dennard also earned Honorable mention All-Big Ten selection (media) his sophomore season, first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and second-team choice by the media his junior season. He was also a first-team All-Big Ten pick by ESPN.com, CollegeFootballNews.com, and Phil Steele. He finished No. 19 in ESPN.com’s final Big Ten player rankings after starting all 13 games, and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Dennard also tied for the team lead with 10 passes defended, which ranked tied for 19th in the Big Ten.

Dennard’s additional accolades his senior season included becoming the first Spartan to be named a finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the nation’s best defensive player. He was named winner of the 2013 Jack Tatum Award, presented to college football’s best defensive back by The Touchdown Club of Columbus. He was again named unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches as well as earning a first-team honors by the media. Dennard earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from ESPN.com, Sporting News, Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. He ranked the number three defensive player in the FBS by CBSSports.com. Dennard was named Big Ten Defensive MVP by ESPN.com and CollegeFootballNews.com. He led team and ranked tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 14 passes defended, leading team in both interceptions (four) and pass break-ups (ten). That was good for tying for third in the Big Ten with his four picks. Finally, Dennard also ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 62 tackles, including 3.5 for loss (eight yards), and was named to ESPN.com’s Big Ten All-Bowl Team.

Darqueze Dennard went on to be selected in the first round, 24th overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2014 NFL Draft.