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Badger Bits: Wisconsin football puts 3 players on Phil Steele's All-American squads

Wisconsin has three players among Phil Steele's four preseason All-American squad, none of whom are an offensive linemen or a running back.

Mark Cunningham

A few days ago we took a look at Phil Steele's All-Big Ten squads. Today we take a look at his four All-American teams, on which the Badgers are pretty well-represented. Chris Borland made 2nd team, Jacob Pedersen made 3rd team and Jared Abbrederis made 4th team, giving Wisconsin more selections than any team in the Big Ten except Ohio State. The Buckeyes had two 1st-teamers (LB Ryan Shazier, CB Bradley Roby), one 2nd-teamer (QB Braxton Miller), one 3rd-teamer (G Andrew Norwell) and one 4th-teamer (OT Jack Mewhort).

Whole shebang below:

1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team 4th Team
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Braxton Miller, Ohio State A.J. McCarron, Alabama Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama Todd Gurley, Georgia Lache Seastrunk, Baylor Silas Redd, USC
RB De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona Duke Johnson, Miami Damien Williams, Oklahoma
WR Marqise Lee, USC Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt Allen Robinson, Penn State Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson Cody Hoffman, BYU Brandin Cooks, Oregon State Tracy Moore, Oklahoma State
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama Mike Evans, Texas A&M Stefon Diggs, Maryland Davante Adams, Fresno State
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington Arthur Lynch, Georgia Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin Eric Ebron, North Carolina
C B.J. Finney, Kansas State Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma Hroniss Grasu, Oregon Tyler Larsen, Utah State
G David Yankey, Stanford Gabe Jackson, Mississippi St. Andrew Norwell, Ohio State Anthony Steen, Alabama
G Cyril Richardson, Baylor Spencer Long, Nebraska Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA Tre' Jackson, Florida State
T Taylor Lewan, Michigan Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama Zack Martin, Notre Dame Morgan Moses, Virginia
T Jake Matthews, Texas A&M Antonio Richardson, Tennessee James Hurst, North Carolina Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team 4th Team
DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas Scott Crichton, Oregon State Aaron Lynch, USF
DT Will Sutton, Arizona State Anthony Johnson, LSU Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh Daniel McCullers, Tennessee
DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame Timmy Jernigan, Florida State Dominique Easley, Florida Roosevelt Nix, Kent State
DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame Devonte Fields, TCU Morgan Breslin, USC Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
LB Anthony Barr, UCLA Chris Borland, Wisconsin Shayne Skov, Stanford Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama Trent Murphy, Stanford A.J. Johnson, Tennessee Hayes Pullard, USC
LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU Max Bullough, Michigan State Khalil Mack, Buffalo Andrew Jackson, W. Kentucky
LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State Adrian Hubbard, Alabama Christian Jones, Florida State Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut
CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
CB Jason Verrett, TCU Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon Quandre Diggs, Texas Antone Exum, Virginia Tech
S Ed Reynolds, Stanford Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State Hakeem Smith, Louisville Marco Nelson, Tulsa
S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama Lamarcus Joyner, Florida St. Craig Loston, LSU Jordan Richards, Stanford
1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team 4th Team
K Cairo Santos, Tulane Chris Boswell, Rice Ross Martin, Duke Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson
P Kyle Christy, Florida Tommy Hibbard, North Carolina Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State Richie Leone, Houston
KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State Bernard Reedy, Toledo Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma St. Jamal Golden, Georgia Tech
PR Marcus Murphy, Missouri Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State Spiffy Evans, Boston College Rashad Greene, Florida State
LS Scott Thompson, N.C. State Drew Howell, Oregon Matt Dooley, Indiana Reid Ferguson, LSU
AP Dri Archer, Kent State Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky Venric Mark, Northwestern

The nice thing about All-American projections is that it gives a nice measure of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the conference heading into the season. The Big Ten placed 15 players among the four teams. Unsurprisingly, the SEC led the way with 27 selections (Alabama alone had eight).

The Big Ten is apparently lacking in elite skill talent, with no running backs and just two wideouts among 12 making an appearance. At least the Big Ten put one offensive lineman on each of the teams. Also of note, Utah State center Tyler Larsen, a product of new offensive line coach T.J. Woods, made 4th team. On defense, the conference had zero linemen, but three of the eight 1st- or 2nd-team linebackers.

Adam Rittenberg picked his conference snubs, and I agree with most of them. He doesn't like Pedersen ahead of Penn State's Kyle Carter (we'll see), and thinks Venric Mark deserves more credit than a special teams mention (for sure). Rittenberg also mentions Ryan Groy as an overlooked player, which I'm less inclined to believe. He's too much of a jack of several trades in my mind, but I'd be happy to be wrong.

Thoughts in comments are strongly encouraged.


More from the Big Ten blog: Fancy numbers say Wisconsin is undervalued.

Wisconsin won't take part in the lacrosse craze.

Wisconsin comes in No. 5 in the country in APR. Northwestern is a worthy No. 1.

Land-Grant Holy Land is bullish on Carlos Hyde.

Michigan State and the word "if." Equal parts navel-gazing and delicious Spartyfreude.

Kevin Wilson hates chintzy t-shirts.

"It makes mad when I walk in the bookstore and I see the shirt that says, 'We've never lost a tailgate,'" Wilson said. "I've actually bought a bunch, took them home and I started my fires with those. You can laugh, but it's embarrassing to me that you guys like the fact that we don't lose tailgates because I don't like the fact that when we lose that football game and it's a different environment than in other sports."

Roll Damn Toilet.