“I’ve decided not to apply for a sixth year of eligibility and to instead declare for the NFL draft,” Cichy said. “I’m going to take my shot and see what happens.”
The inside linebacker was set to captain the Badgers’ dominant defense this season, before suffering a torn ACL during an August practice, causing him to miss the entire season.
The tear was the second major injury of Cichy’s college career. He tore a pectoral muscle midway through the 2016 season, appearing in just seven games.
A former walk-on from Somerset, Cichy came to Madison in 2013, appearing in four games, before redshirting in 2014. He appeared in all 13 games in 2015, starting four, while racking up eight tackles for loss and five sacks.
He finishes his Badgers career with 121 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles in 25 career games.
Cichy earned the nickname “three-sack Jack” after recording sacks on three consecutive plays in the 2015 Holiday Bowl against USC.
“I’m excited for what’s to come, but I can tell you that deciding to leave Madison was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make,” he said.
Cichy’s injury history and limited playing time in college could deter teams from using a high draft pick on him, but several alums of the Badgers linebacker corps have gone on to make an impact in the NFL.
T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh Steelers, first round) and Vince Biegel (Green Bay Packers, fourth round) were drafted last spring, while Joe Schobert (Cleveland Browns, fourth round) was drafted in 2016.