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Backfield mates Ball, White are 'Players to Watch'

The inaugural edition of the Big Ten Conference's "Players to Watch" list includes a pair of Badgers picked to do big things in the first season of divisional play.

The running back tandem of junior Montee Ball and sophomore James White were named to the Players to Watch list for the Leaders Division on Thursday as part of the 2011 Big Ten Media Days.

The Leaders Division list totaled seven names due to a tie in the voting and includes five returning All-Big Ten selections from 2010. In addition to being the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, White was named second-team all-conference, while Ball was an All-Big Ten honorable mention.

Ball and White join Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase, Indiana WR Damarlo Belcher, Ohio State C Mike Brewster and DT John Simon and Penn State LB Michael Mauti as honorees in the Leaders Division.

Five players were picked in the Legends Division, including quarterbacks Denard Robinson (Michigan), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) and Dan Persa (Northwestern). Nebraska DT Jared Crick and LB Lavonte David give the Huskers a pair of Players to Watch in their first Big Ten season.

The Players to Watch list, which replaces the league's preseason all-conference teams, is selected by a panel of media that cover the Big Ten.


Legends Division
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern

Leaders Division*
Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois
Damarlo Belcher, WR, Indiana
Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State
John Simon, DT, Ohio State
Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
James White, RB, Wisconsin

*Additional honorees due to tie