Senior linebacker Chris Borland is no stranger to the Nagurski preseason list, being named to it for the third time in his career. In the same vein, Wisconsin players are very familiar with the Outland Trophy watch list as senior offensive lineman Ryan Groy’s inclusion on this year’s list marks the ninth time in the last 13 years at least one UW player was appeared on the Outland preseason list.
Borland, also a member of the Bednarik Award watch list, heads into his final year at UW as a centerpiece of the Badgers’ defense. A first-team All-Big Ten pick each of the last two seasons, Borland has proven himself a playmaker as an inside linebacker.
With 13 forced fumbles in his career, he needs just one to match the Big Ten record and all-time FBS best of 14. One of those forced fumbles came in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game, with Borland also posting a season-high 13 tackles as the Badgers secured their third-consecutive conference title. He then led the Badgers with nine stops in the Rose Bowl vs. Stanford.
Borland has 13 sacks and 41.5 tackles for loss -- tied for seventh-best in school history -- to his credit and begins his senior season ranked 19th all-time at UW with 308 total tackles.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2013 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects the 25-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in America.
Groy, one of the most versatile offensive linemen in the country, has started 20 games in his first three seasons as a Badger, including all 14 games a year ago. The senior from nearby Middleton, Wis., has started games at all three offensive line positions, as well as fullback. A second-team All-Big Ten choice by the coaches in 2012, Groy started 12 games at left guard last year and two games at left tackle while Ricky Wagner was out with an injury.
Groy is the sixth different UW player to be named to the Outland Trophy watch list in the last four years, joining Gabe Carimi and Josh Oglesby (2010), Kevin Zeitler (2011) and Travis Frederick and Rick Wagner (2012). Wisconsin has had two Outland Trophy winners, Joe Thomas in 2006 and Carimi in 2010.
The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 25-man team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.
The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 20. Five days later three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 68th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12 from Disney’s Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.