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T.J. Edwards, several Badgers named to All-Big Ten defensive teams

Some redshirt seniors claim honors.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Wisconsin
Nov 18, 2017; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebackers T.J. Edwards (53) and Ryan Connelly (43) celebrate following a play during the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

While the season overall was not what any player or fan was hoping for, there was still some positives as multiple Wisconsin Badgers were named to the Big Ten all-conference teams on Tuesday evening.

Redshirt senior inside linebacker T.J. Edwards claimed a first-team selection by the media, and a second team selection by the coaches. After a superb junior season, Edwards decided to return for his senior season in Madison to help improve his draft stock in 2018. If there was any doubt of the caliber of player Edwards is, it was quickly put to rest as he racked up another unbelievable season for the Badgers. Edwards set multiple career highs as he recorded 103 total tackles (68 solo) to go along with 10.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and two interceptions.

Redshirt senior safety D’Cota Dixon became a consensus third-team selection. Despite battling injuries over the course of the 2018 season, Dixon still recorded an good year defensively, recording 43 tackles in just nine games and helped bring along a young Wisconsin secondary.

Inside linebacker Ryan Connelly was named to the third-team by the coaches, honorable mention to the media. I would argue that Connelly was robbed on both fronts, as the Wisconsin linebacker again put up big numbers similarly to his 2017 season. The former walk-on also set career-high marks in 2018 recording 89 total tackles while also adding 10 tackles for loss (second on the team in both categories behind Edwards). Each and every game Connelly quietly went about his business and brought havoc on opposing offenses. In our roundtable discussion last night, we discussed just how great Connelly truly was all season long.

Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel claimed third-team for the coaches, and an honorable mention to the media. Van Ginkel battled injuries early in the season as well, but came on strong and looked to return to his former self late. Van Ginkel recorded 46 total tackles, seven for loss, and led the team with 4.5 sacks in the regular season.

Placekicker Rafael Gaglianone was also named as an honorable mention specialist by the media.

Tuesday’s announcement was solely defensive players, with the offensive announcements being made on Wednesday night.