Park Ridge, Ill. â€“ Forty-one Big Ten Conference student-athletes were selected during the 2012 National Football League (NFL) Draft held from April 26-28. The Big Tenâ€™s 41 draftees were the most since the conference produced 41 selections in 2006. The Big Ten and SEC (42 draftees) led all other conferences by at least 10 selections.
Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin led the Big Ten with six picks each over the three-day draft, three of only 10 teams to produce six or more selections. Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State each recorded four draft picks.
Four Big Ten standouts were selected in the opening round, beginning with All-America offensive tackleRiley Reiff of Iowa by Detroit. Two Illinois players were drafted in the opening round, with All-America defensive end and Hendricks Award winnerWhitney Mercilus chosen by Houston and wide receiver A.J. Jenkins going to San Francisco. Wisconsin All-America offensive guardKevin Zeitler also went in the first round to Cincinnati.
The entire list of conference draftees can be found at www.bigten.org.
The Big Ten will hold the 2012 Football Media Days and 41st annual Kickoff Luncheon on Thursday and Friday, July 26 and 27, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, featuring all 12 head coaches and some of the nationâ€™s top returning players. The 117th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, August 30, when Minnesota plays at UNLV, before Michigan State hosts Boise State on Friday, August 31. The conferenceâ€™s other 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 1.