Badger Bits: Ball, Borland named to preseason watch lists

Middle linebacker Chris Borland is on the Bednarik preseason watch list for the second time in three years.

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and linebacker Chris Borland were each named to watch lists for major college football awards on Monday. Ball is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, while Borland is on the watch list for the Bednarik award for the second second time in three years.

The Maxwell and Bednarik awards are presented annually by the Maxwell Football Club to the nation's top offensive and defensive players, respectfully. It is an honor in itself being named to these watch lists, but keep in mind these are expansive lists, with 65 players making each of them.

As a returning Heisman finalist, Ball will receive much attention for national awards this season. In the past 10 seasons the Maxwell award has gone to a quarterback, so Ball looks to be the first running back since Larry Johnson — the 2002 winner — to take home the honor.

After a disappointing season ended early by a shoulder injury in 2010, Borland returned to form last season. His 143 tackles were second most in the Big Ten, only behind fellow linebacker Mike Taylor. Borland is also no stranger to preseason watch lists. Following a phenomenal freshman year, he made the 2010 watch lists for the Bednarik, Butkus and Rotary Lombardi awards, as well as one for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Don't be surprised to see more news of Badgers making preseason watch lists, as the National College Football Awards Association will reveal its lists for other major awards in the next couple weeks.

Here's a comprehensive list of all players named to the Maxwell and Bednarik awards.

Tuesday's Links:

Andy Katz weighs in on incoming Wisconsin freshman Sam Dekker and how he's capable of making an impact early for Bo Ryan's squad.

It's now official: The Badgers will face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in an outdoor hockey game at Soldier Field this winter.

Phil Steele believes three Big Ten teams are capable of making the national championship game this season. You may be a bit surprised at his picks.

Deron Williams (Illinois grad) of the Brooklyn Nets will be the only member of the Olympic team to represent the Big Ten.

An interesting story on Michigan's efforts to keep Michigan State from joining the Big Ten in the mid-1900's.

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