MADISON – With less than 50 days until the start of the 2013 Wisconsin football season, the preseason hype is starting to get hot and heavy. Included in that rite of summer is the announcement of the preseason watch lists for various national awards. As is usually the case, a number of Badgers find themselves in that conversation as July rolls on.
Senior linebacker Chris Borland, unquestionably one of the top returning defensive players in the country, is now on the preseason list for five different awards after the Lombardi and Butkus Awards announced their watch lists on Monday. Joining Borland on the Lombardi list was UW senior offensive lineman Ryan Groy. Groy was earlier a member of the Outland Trophy Watch List.
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. The candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams or receiving 2013 pre-season honors.
Aaron Gibson (1998), Wendell Bryant (2000 and 2001), Erasmus James (2004) and Joe Thomas (2005 and 2006) have all been semifinalists for the award, with Gibson and James being named finalists. No Badger has ever won the Lombardi Award.
The Butkus Award watch list contains 51 candidates, honoring the now-retired professional jersey number of Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history. The selection panel is comprised of 51 coaches, evaluators and journalists. Semifinalists will be named Oct. 28, finalists Nov. 26, and the winner will be notified on or before Dec. 10. No Wisconsin player has ever been named a finalist for the Butkus Award.
2013 Award Watch Lists
• Lott IMPACT Trophy (defensive player of the year): Chris Borland
• Hornung Award (most versatile): Jared Abbrederis
• Maxwell Award (player of the year): James White
• Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year): Chris Borland
• John Mackey Award (best tight end): Jacob Pedersen
• Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year): Chris Borland
• Outland Trophy (best interior lineman): Ryan Groy
• Lombardi Award (college lineman of the year): Chris Borland & Ryan Groy
• Butkus Award (best linebacker): Chris Borland
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