Just a couple of days after being named to the Bednarik Award watch list, Vince Biegel sees his name on another. The Wisconsin Badgers outside linebacker was added to the 2016 Bronco Nagurski Trophy watch list on Friday, given to college football’s best defensive player.
Biegel enters the season with 28 starts and 42 career games played (UW’s school record is 54) after registering 14 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 2015. He was named a second-team all-Big Ten selection in 2014 by the media, and a consensus third-team pick by both coaches and the media last season.
The 6’4, 242-pounder leads a Wisconsin linebacker corp that is ranked among the best in the conference by ESPN.com and No. 4 in the nation by FoxSports.com’s Bruce Feldman heading into the 2016 season.
One of the best outside linebackers. One of the top interior linemen. Both #Badgers. https://t.co/Jac1pcJWKU pic.twitter.com/Wc0qor2c6f— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) July 8, 2016
Here’s the official release from the UW Athletic Department:
Biegel, Voltz add to Badgers’ preseason honors
Wisconsin seniors placed on watch lists for Nagurski, Outland trophies
July 8, 2016
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin seniors Vince Biegel and Dan Voltz added to the Badgers’ growing list of preseason recognition Friday.
Voltz has been named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, presented to the nation’s top interior lineman, and Biegel has earned a place on the watch list for the Nagurski Trophy, awarded to college football’s best defensive player.
A preseason All-America selection by Phil Steele, Voltz returns to the Badgers’ lineup after an injury-plagued junior season that saw him miss six games. He was the Badgers’ starting center in UW’s other seven contests.
The Barrington, Illinois, native has played in 32 games with 27 starts over this first three seasons at UW. As the starting center in all 14 games, he was integral to the Badgers’ record-setting rushing attack in 2014, when he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. Voltz helped the Badgers run up a school-record 320.1 yards per game and paved the way for Heisman Trophy runner-up Melvin Gordon to rush for 2,587 yards, the second-most in FBS history.
There’s a strong possibility that Voltz will transition to offensive guard this season to maintain continuity, with sophomore Michael Deiter – who filled in for Voltz at center last season – remaining in the middle of the Badgers’ offensive line.
Voltz, who earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in December, is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, a 2015-16 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and twice has been named CoSIDA Academic All-District.
Biegel, an outside linebacker, is one of 13 players from Big Ten schools to be named to the Nagurski Trophy.
The Wisconsin Rapids native is the top returner for a Badgers unit that led the nation in scoring defense (13.7 points per game) and ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense (268.5 yards per game) last season. Biegel was a third-team All-Big Ten selection while recording 66 total tackles – including 14.0 for loss and 8.0 sacks – as a junior in 2015.
He enters 2016 as the Badgers’ most experienced player, with 42 games and 28 starts to his credit. Biegel has started 25 consecutive games at outside linebacker and enters his senior year ranked eighth in school history with 17.5 sacks and 15th all-time at UW with 33.5 tackles for loss.
Pro Football Focus has rated Biegel the nation’s top returning outside linebacker, grading him No. 1 both against the run and as a pass rusher.
A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Biegel also is a preseason candidate for the Bednarik Award.
Five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy will be selected on Nov. 17, with a winner chosen from the All-America team named by the Football Writers Association of America. The Outland Trophy will announce semifinalists on Nov. 17 and three finalists on Nov. 22. The winner, selected from the FWAA All-America team, will be named during The Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8.