Van Ginkel became a fixture and playmaker on defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard’s unit the past two seasons after stints at FCS program South Dakota and Iowa Western Community College. Initially a rotational player at the outside linebacker position in 2017, he assumed a starting role last season and played in 13 games (10 starts) despite dealing with a right ankle injury through a significant portion of his redshirt senior campaign. If not for the ailment, his product last year probably soars.
In two seasons as a Badger, he played in 27 total games and recorded 99 tackles, 19.5 for loss, along with 12 sacks, five pass breakups, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. Those two picks came at the end of the 2017 season—one a pick-six in the 2017 Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State, and the other that flipped the switch for Wisconsin in the second quarter of 2017 Orange Bowl win over Miami.
After his Wisconsin playing days, Van Ginkel participated in the NFL Combine and Wisconsin’s pro day, posting some impressive numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.56 seconds) among other drills.
Van Ginkel becomes the third Badger to be selected in this year’s draft. He joins former teammate Michael Deiter in Miami, as the Dolphins picked the offensive lineman in the third round. Fellow linebacker Ryan Connelly was drafted just eight picks earlier than Van Ginkel in going to the New York Giants.
Other former Wisconsin linebackers drafted in recent memory include Connelly, Jack Cichy and Leon Jacobs (2018), T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel (2017), Joe Schobert (2016), and Chris Borland (2014).