Maryland football’s Antoine Brooks and Javon Leake earn All-Big Ten honors

Defensive back Antoine Brooks celebrates during a timeout in Maryland football's 34-7 homecoming win over Rutgers at Maryland Stadium on Oct. 13, 2018. (Frances Moyonero/The Diamondback)

Maryland football safety Antoine Brooks has been named to the All-Big Ten second team, voted on by the conference’s coaches. In addition, running back Javon Leake has been named the Big Ten return specialist of the year.

Brooks was named to the coaches’ second team for the second straight year, while Leake follows in former Terps defensive back Will Likely’s footsteps as a winner of the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year Award.

The Lanham native has been a do-it-all defender for Maryland, primarily helping in coverage and run defense. He played in every game while leading the team with 69 total tackles. He also managed one fumble recovery and an interception in his final season in College Park.

[Read more: Maryland football running back Anthony McFarland will enter 2020 NFL Draft

His consistency and statline were some of the few bright spots on a defense that largely underwhelmed in coordinator Jon Hoke’s first year with the team.

With Maryland’s most accredited and most productive defender now gone, it will look for a jump in production from All-Big Ten freshman honoree Nick Cross, as well as fellow defensive backs Jordan Mosley and Deon Jones, both sophomores.

Leake, meanwhile, also turned in a solid season on the ground — leading the Terps with 1,595 all-purpose yards — but his conference award recognition came from his ability to return kickoffs.

[Read more: Maryland football ends season with seventh straight loss, a 19-16 defeat to Michigan State]

The junior tailback has been a mainstay returning kicks for the Terps the past three seasons, and his production has increased each year. Leake returned 30 kicks this past season, bringing them back an average of 26.8 yards and scoring twice. The New York native’s three career kickoff return touchdowns are tied with former wide receiver Torrey Smith for most in program history.

Fellow running back Anthony McFarland announced earlier Tuesday that he is entering the NFL Draft. Leake is eligible to do the same, and told The Diamondback in November he has “a lot of thinking to do.”

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