MADISON, Wis. — Chris Borland said earlier this season he understood missing nearly two games could cost him an opportunity at several postseason awards. But coaches and media members ultimately were able to look past his hamstring injury and see the value he added to Wisconsin’s defense.
On Monday, Borland was named as a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection and the winner of the conference’s Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award. He and Badgers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis were the only consensus first-team picks for Wisconsin but were among 14 Badgers honored for their play this season.
Borland, a fifth-year senior, finished the regular season tied for fifth in the conference at 9.27 tackles per game. His 102 total tackles were the fifth-most of any Big Ten player despite missing seven quarters with a hamstring injury first suffered Oct. 19 against Illinois. He was one of just two unanimous first-team selections by the coaches, along with Michigan State defensive back Darqueze Dennard.
Over his last six games played, Borland averaged 11.8 tackles and reached double figures in each game. He recorded at least 10 tackles on seven occasions this season.
For his career, Borland ranks sixth all-time at Wisconsin — and second among active FBS players — with 410 total tackles. His 50.0 career tackles for loss rank 10th among active players and fourth in UW history.
Abbrederis, Wisconsin’s other consensus all-league pick, finished the regular season ranked fifth in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game (87.6). His 73 receptions ranked third, and his 1,051 receiving yards ranked fourth in the league. He became just the third player in school history to amass 1,000 receiving yards in a season and is the first at UW to record at least 800 yards in three different seasons.
The former walk-on from Wautoma, Wis., caught seven touchdown passes this season, giving him 23 for his career — a mark that ranks in a tie for second all-time at Wisconsin. He also ranks second in program history in receiving yards (3,110) and receptions (197).
Badgers offensive lineman Ryan Groy was named a first-team selection by the coaches and a second-team pick by the media. Wisconsin running backs James White and Melvin Gordon were consensus second-team selections. Offensive lineman Rob Havenstein garnered second-team honors from the media and honorable mention from the coaches.
Here is the full list of Wisconsin all-conference honors:
Offense WR Jared Abbrederis – First team (consensus) OL Ryan Groy – First team (coaches), second team (media) RB Melvin Gordon – Second team (consensus) RB James White – Second team (consensus) OL Rob Havenstein – Second team (media), honorable mention (coaches) OL Tyler Marz – Honorable mention (consensus) TE Jacob Pedersen – Honorable mention (consensus) QB Joel Stave – Honorable mention (media)
Defense LB Chris Borland – First team (consensus) NG Beau Allen – Honorable mention (consensus) DE Pat Muldoon – Honorable mention (consensus) S Dezmen Southward – Honorable mention (consensus) S Michael Caputo – Honorable mention (media) CB Sojourn Shelton – Honorable mention (media)