MADISON - Wisconsin’s backfield tandem of senior QB Russell Wilson and junior RB Montee Ball each were named the best at their positions and highlighted a list of 17 Badgers named All-Big Ten on Monday as the league announced its postseason awards and all-conference teams.
After scoring a Big Ten-record 34 touchdowns this season, Ball was named the inaugural winner of the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year award, which is named for former Badgers -- and Heisman Trophy winners -- Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne.
“It means a lot,” Ball said. “It’s something I’ve been working very hard for since I was young. And getting an award with Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne’s names on it is an honor itself. I’m very blessed to have won this award, but I know I still have to keep working hard.
“The tradition of running backs here at Wisconsin is one of the reasons I chose this university. It’s a tradition that we really embrace.”
Wilson, who is on pace to break the NCAA record for passing efficiency, became the first recipient of the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year honor.
"I am humbled to receive an award that is associated with two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the Big Ten,” Wilson said. “Just to be mentioned in the same sentence with Drew Brees and Bob Griese is an enormous honor.
“Drew Brees, especially, has been a major inspiration in my progress as a quarterback. I have admired his tenacity to overcome those who doubted his ability to succeed based simply on his height. It has always been a dream of mine to follow in those footsteps."
In all, the Badgers placed 12 players on either the All-Big Ten first or second teams and saw five others earn honorable mention. A total of nine Wisconsin players earned first-team honors on either the coaches’ or media’s All-Big Ten squads -- including five consensus first-team picks.
The nine first-team picks are the most in UW history, surpassing the 1993 team’s eight first-team selections.
Ball was the lone unanimous selection to both the coaches’ and media’s All-Big Ten teams, appearing as a first-team pick on every ballot for both squads.
He is joined as a consensus pick by Wilson, who was named the league’s first-team quarterback by both the coaches and media. Wilson is just the second Wisconsin QB to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors since 1962 (Darrell Bevell, 1993).
"These accolades would not be possible if it were not for my teammates and the coaching staff at the University of Wisconsin,” Wilson said. “In the short time I have been here, the players and coaches have helped me accomplish things that were once beyond my wildest dreams. It is with genuine appreciation that I share these awards with each and every one of them."
Also earning consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors on offense are senior linemen Kevin Zeitler and Josh Oglesby, while junior center Peter Konz was named to the media’s first team.
A fourth lineman, sophomore guard Travis Frederick was a consensus second-team selection, while senior wide receiver Nick Toon and sophomore tight end Jacob Pedersen were both named second-team all-conference by the media.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore linebacker Chris Borland was a consensus first-team pick while his teammate at linebacker, junior Mike Taylor, was named first-team All-Big Ten by the media and a second-team selection by the coaches.
Senior safety Aaron Henry earned a first-team nod from the coaches, while senior cornerback Antonio Fenelus was a first-team pick by the media for the second-consecutive season.
In addition, the Badgers saw sophomore WR Jared Abbrederis, senior DT Patrick Butrym, senior P Brad Nortman and junior OL Ricky Wagner earn consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, while senior K Philip Welch was an honorable mention selection by the media.
Wisconsin’s All-Big Ten Selections
QB: Russell Wilson - First team (Consensus)
RB: Montee Ball - First team (Consensus)
WR: Nick Toon - Second team (Coaches) / Honorable mention (Media)
WR: Jared Abbrederis - Honorable mention (Consensus)
C: Peter Konz - First team (Media) / Honorable mention (Coaches)
G: Kevin Zeitler - First team (Consensus)
G: Travis Frederick - Second team (Consensus)
T: Josh Oglesby - First team (Consensus)
T: Ricky Wagner - Honorable mention (Consensus)
TE: Jacob Pedersen - Second team (Media)
K: Philip Welch - Honorable mention (Media)
DL: Patrick Butrym - Honorable mention (Consensus)
LB: Chris Borland - First team (Consensus)
LB: Mike Taylor - First team (Media) / Second team (Coaches)
DB: Aaron Henry - First team (Coaches) / Honorable mention (Media)
DB: Antonio Fenelus - First team (Media) / Honorable mention (Coaches)
P: Brad Nortman - Honorable mention (Consensus)