During the summer doldrums of sports news, many college football fans are starved for news and information regarding their favorite teams.
With that in mind, we at B5Q have decided to take a more detailed look at each walk-on contributor and scholarship player on the Wisconsin Badgers football roster for 2020 in a running feature, our 2020 returnee profiles.
Each weekday we will breakdown one player on the football roster to look back at their recruiting process, their career as a Badger to this juncture and lastly preview their potential contribution to the team in 2020 and beyond.
Today let’s take a look at starting linebacker Jack Sanborn.
Name: Jack Sanborn
Position: inside linebacker
2020 eligibility: junior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 4-star, No. 17 inside linebacker, Lake Zurich, Ill.
2018 recruitment: The Badgers top linebacker target in the 2018 class, Jack Sanborn was a highly sought after 4-star prospect from Illinois. After a strong junior season Sanborn had accumulated offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
Multiple visits to Madison, including a visit only two weeks after earning an offer in October of his junior campaign, ultimately led to an early commitment from the 6-foot-2 prospect in late March over his other opportunities. He finished the class as the highest rated commit for the Badgers during the 2018 cycle.
Career statistics: 87 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions
2019 statistics: 80 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions
Player overview: After foregoing a redshirt opportunity as a freshman while playing in limited action, Sanborn became a full-time starter in 2019. The young inside linebacker made the best of the opportunity next to Chris Orr, leading the team in tackles. Sanborn demonstrated the ability to be tough in run defense, but also made waves dropping into coverage with three interceptions, tied for the team lead.
Sanborn proved to be one of the better linebackers in the conference in 2019, and is primed to take on an even greater role for the defense in 2020.
Best case scenario for 2020: Called upon to shoulder greater responsibility in his junior season, Sanborn continues to improve as an overall inside linebacker for the Badgers in 2020.
Sanborn goes on out outpace his numbers in 2019 with nearly 100 tackles, and rising his sack totals from 5.5 to 10. In addition to greater production he proves to be a crucial leader of the defense, and earns all-conference recognition.
His disruptive nature in the backfield further raises his stock with the NFL Draft community, and he must decide between leaving early or staying for another season in Madison to play with his younger brother (2021 commit Bryan Sanborn).
Likely role on team in 2020: After starting each game at inside linebacker last season there is very little doubt that Sanborn is likely to maintain his starting status. His blend of strength, speed, and athleticism make him the top linebacker on the roster next season. There still remains questions about who will pair with him, but he will be tasked with taking on a greater leadership role entering his junior year on campus as the primary play caller for the defense.