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Wisconsin Badgers headline All-Big Ten defense teams


NCAA Football: Michigan at Wisconsin Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

A dominant Wisconsin Badgers defense now boasts a dozen players with All-Big Ten honors.

Inside linebacker T.J. Edwards and cornerback Nick Nelson were named consensus first-team all-conference by both the coaches and media on Tuesday, with safety D’Cota Dixon receiving a first-team nod by the coaches (third-team by media).

Defensive end Alec James earned consensus second-team All-Big Ten, with Conor Sheehy and Garret Dooley both receiving second-team honors by the coaches.

Cornerback Derrick Tindal received a third-team nomination by the coaches and honorable mention by the media.

Five Badgers—inside linebacker Ryan Connelly, safety Joe Ferguson, outside linebacker Leon Jacobs, safety Natrell Jamerson, and nose guard Olive Sagapolu—received consensus all-Big Ten honorable mention.

If you check Wisconsin’s depth chart this week, that’s the entire first-team defense plus Ferguson, who has been starting for Dixon in four of the past five games. As noted earlier by the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway, 11 of those 12 started last week against Minnesota, and those same players also started against Michigan a week prior.

All contributed to a defense ranked first in the nation in total defense (236.9 yards per game) and rushing defense (80.5 yards per game); second in scoring defense (12.0 points allowed); and second in pass defense (156.4 yards per game).

Ferguson was also named one of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees, who according to a release by the conference “are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These students must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.”

Placekicker Rafael Gaglianone also earned consensus second-team all-conference honors.

Here are the full All-Big Ten defense teams as announced by the conference.