After an awards hiatus last year (because last year was weird), I’ve compiled the third installment of the Off Tackle Empire Name of the Year award.
We clearly thought this one was way more fun two years ago, because I was only able to wrangle seven voters for this despite yelling at them all week in the Slack. Nevertheless, I brought in two celebrity voters in Mrs. Thumpasaurus and Michigan Twitter guy @ThiccStauskas. If you wanna see what it looks like when a millennial decides to lean all the way in to full-on Michigan villain territory, give him a follow. Funny dude. Having been around Michigan football since before 2016, that’s a guy that knows fun names.
So, we have nine voters! What I love about this voting, especially with a larger sample size, is that everyone has their own criteria. Some like names that look silly, others love a name with a whimsical flow. Some like a good pun to be evident; others love an odd combination of first and last name. Everyone has a different take on this!
With Kofi Cockburn, Fatts Russell and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk in the league, I’m definitely doing this for basketball, but I’m gonna open it up to the entire commenting community in hopes of getting more than 15 total votes.
Also Receiving Votes
TE Brenton Strange, Penn State Nittany Lions (2), LB Ruben Hyppolite, Maryland Terrapins (2), OL Kamar Missouri, Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3), LB Derick LeCaptain, Minnesota Golden Gophers (4), TE Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland (5), LB Isaac Darkangelo, Illinois Fighting Illini (6), WR Ty Fryfogle, Indiana Hoosiers (13), OL Juice Scruggs, Penn State (14, 1FPV), DT PrinceJames Boyd, Jr., Purdue Boilermakers (21)
T-9th: Monte Pottebaum, FB, Iowa Hawkeyes
Pottebaum probably owes this honor to Gus Johnson, who was both very excited about fullback touchdowns and unable to pronounce his name any way other than “POTTY BOMB!” And yes, that’s all caps, because he’s Gus Johnson.
T-9th: Davion Ervin-Poindexter, RB, Indiana
This one rolls off the tongue so nicely, and is wonderful for a Big Ten back because in addition to being a word with a wide array of different sounds in it, “Poindexter” is also defined by the dictionary as “a boringly studious and socially inept person.” Blame that one on Felix the Cat.
8th: Valentino Ambrosio, K, Rutgers
You just can’t be Rutgers without an extremely Italian name on the roster, and this is one of my favorites. From 4 syllables in each name to ending both with a vowel, this is (italian talking hand emoji) pure Rutgers.
7th: Lloyd McFarquhar, CB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Say this name out loud and try not to smile. I’ve always found “Farquhar” by itself to be an extraordinarily whimsical name. The most famous Farquhar I’ve found is The Honourable Major-General William Farquhar, who was some big time colonialist for the East India Company. Probably a pretty bad guy! What Lloyd does is take the pride of Aberdeenshire, Scotland and out-Scottish him by adding a “Mc” to the front end of that. William Farquhar would tremble at the very idea of a McFarquhar.
6th: Cam Large, TE, Wisconsin Badgers
28 pts, 1 FPV
That first place vote was me, and I guess only 4 of our 9 voters have been in my predicament of having this dude’s name live in my head rent-free. Ever since the first time I heard narration of a play being made by tight end Cam Large, I’ve just not been able to get over it. There’s a whole family of Larges. Some people talk about a dream matchup between, say, the ‘96 Bulls and the ‘17 Warriors. Give me a 1-on-1 basketball game between Cam Large and former Fighting Illini forward Nick Huge.
5th: Joop Mitchell, WR, Ohio State
32 pts, 1 FPV
Wyoming, Ohio’s Joop Mitchell is pretty fly for a white guy that walked on for the Buckeyes (to be fair, it was a Preferred Walk-On offer). I’ve combed the Internet and I can find no evidence that Joop is merely a nickname or that this young man has ever known a first name other than Joop.
This is how you know Ryan Day isn’t very internet-savvy, because if he were, he would absolutely get Joop in the game in situations like the second half of the Michigan State game where the lead is insurmountable, try to get a touchdown for him, and then tweet on the sideline “ @MSU_Football you just got JOOP’d!”
That’s why, if you listen to any Ohio State fan, Day has lost the plot.
4th: Michael Penix, Jr., QB, Indiana
The 2019 B1G Name of the Year champion still managed a fourth place finish after three years of Penix jokes, and while Penix fatigue has definitely set in, let’s not forget the legends that changed the game.
You’ll be missed quite firmly.
3rd: Robert Longerbeam, CB, Rutgers
38 pts, 1 FPV
I’m genuinely surprised I didn’t remember this name. As a redshirt freshman, he played in all 12 games for The ‘Gers and got 9 PBU’s for a solid if unspectacular defense. Won the Frank R. Burns award for Spring Practice MVP.
Is his beam truly longer? Only one way to find out.
(If he’d been Richard, I believe he’d have challenged for the top spot)
2nd: Steele Chambers, RB, Ohio State
46 pts, 1 FPV
This guy’s name is literally built to hold bullets. What more do you need?
The 2021 Big Ten Football Name Of The Year: Chancellor Brewington, WR, Nebraska Cornhuskers
68 pts, 4 FPV
The runaway winner was the Nebraska receiver who sounds like a European head of state whose political philosophy is to examine everything through the lens of a beer.