Drake Dunsmore (Stephen J. Carrera photo credit)

Northwestern senior Drake Dunsmore (Lenexa, Kan./St. Thomas
Aquinas) has been named the inaugural winner of the Kwalick-Clark Award as Big Ten Tight End of the Year and is a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection, the
conference announced Monday evening. Senior safety Brian Peters (Pickerington,
Ohio/Pickerington Central) joined Dunsmore as a first-team All-Big Ten choice by the media.

For the second straight year, eight Wildcats were voted either to an all-conference
team or as an honorable mention honoree.

Dunsmore is averaging a career-best 42.4 receiving yards per game in 2011 — tops among all Big Ten tight ends — and is NU’s second-leading receiver with 43 catches for 509 yards. Dunsmore, a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award given to the nation’s top tight end, caught six TD passes this year, including four in a
record-setting performance at Indiana on Oct. 29. In that game, Dunsmore became Northwestern’s career leader for receiving yards by a tight end and currently stands at 1,554.

The Tight End of the Year Award, one of 17 individual trophies handed out for the
first time this season, is named for former Big Ten greats Ted Kwalick (Penn State) and Dallas Clark (Iowa).

Peters, who was a second-team all-conference selection by the media in 2010, earned first-team honors from the media and honorable mention recognition by the coaches following a year in which he tied for the league lead in interceptions with four. Peters, whose 11 career INT’s rank third all-time at NU, also is tied for 15th in the Big Ten with 7.1 tackles per game.

Senior wideout Jeremy Ebert (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard-Darby) received second-team
All-Big Ten accolades from the media and honorable mention from the coaches after one of the most prolific seasons ever by a Wildcat pass-catcher. Ebert became the first Wildcat since 1998 to top 1,000 yards receiving and hauled in 11 touchdown catches, tied for second in the Big Ten. He is 28th nationally in total receiving yards and is one of only two Big Ten players with three receptions of 60 yards or more this season.

Senior quarterback Dan Persa (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) is a consensus honorable
mention honoree after leading the league in passing yards per game (240.3) and
ranking second in pass efficiency rating (160.3). Persa, who threw 17 touchdowns in nine games, ranks as the FBS leader in completion percentage at 74.2 and, with 19 pass attempts in NU’s bowl game, will likely cement his place as the NCAA’s all-time leader in career completion percentage.

On the other side of the ball, cornerback Jordan Mabin (Northfield Center,
Ohio/Nordonia), garnered honorable mention all-conference honors for the second
straight year. Mabin led NU with five pass breakups — and is tied for fourth
all-time in that category with 24 for his career — and compiled 62 tackles in his
fourth year as a starter for the Wildcats.

Senior left tackle Al Netter (Rohnert Park, Calif./Cardinal Newman) was an honorable mention all-conference choice by the coaches and media, the third year in a row he has appeared on the all-conference report. Netter has started all 51 games in which he has played for the ‘Cats, tying the Northwestern school record for career games played.

Two Wildcats, sophomore Kain Colter (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek) (media) and junior Brian Mulroe (Glenview, Ill./Loyola Academy) (media and coaches), received honorable mention for the first time in their respective careers. Colter was a dynamic  playmaker as a quarterback, receiver and runner, compiling more than 400 yards in all three categories and accounting for 16 total touchdowns.

Mulroe started every game for the Wildcats for the second straight year, playing
alongside Netter and helping NU rank fifth in the conference with 176.2 yards
rushing per contest.

The Wildcats finished the season bowl eligible for a school-record fifth straight