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Wisconsin football: who made Phil Steele’s and PFF’s preseason all-Big Ten teams?

TE Jake Ferguson and ILB Jack Sanborn lead the way for the Badgers.

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Wisconsin v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

An annual rite of summer is the releasing of college football preseason all-conference teams. You know you’re getting close to the season when these lists start popping up and give everyone something new to argue over. Two of the better ones that come out are from Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele.

They are both deep and accurate and definitely give you an overview of which opposing players to be on the lookout for in the 2021 season. Let’s take a look at how many Wisconsin Badgers players made the teams and then discuss who we think might be on them after the season is over.

Phil Steele

TE Jake Ferguson, first team
ILB Jack Sanborn (pictured below), first team
ILB Leo Chenal, second team
QB Graham Mertz, third team
OG Logan Bruss, third team
DB Faion Hicks, fourth team

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports


TE Jake Ferguson, first team
OG Josh Seltzner, first team
ILB Jack Sanborn, second team
ILB Leo Chenal, second team
NT Keeanu Benton, second team
QB Graham Mertz, third team
OT Tyler Beach, third team
OT Logan Bruss, third team
FLEX D Faion Hicks, third team

The respect for ol’ Buffalo Head Seltzner from PFF is pretty awesome. He is a valuable member of the offensive line who often gets overlooked for his more highly rated teammates. PFF says:

“Seltzner went from being a walk-on in 2018 to one of the better pass-protecting guards in the Big Ten. While he’s logged only 199 pass-block snaps in his Wisconsin tenure, his talent is evident. He owns an 82.5 pass-block grade for his career, with just three total pressures allowed.”

And while Steele doesn’t have a “NT” designation for his teams (it’s just four DL positions) I think he’ll regret not including Benton on one of his teams. Dude just seems to always make plays and I think the conference is going to really find out about him and his talents this season. It’s also kinda weird to see eight Big Ten running backs listed and not have one of them be a Badger. Jalen Berger has the chance to make an all-conference team but he hasn’t really proven anything yet so I understand why he is left off the preseason teams.

It is worth noting that on Steele’s teams six of the eight (and four of the eight for PFF) running backs are from the Big Ten West, so Benton, Sanborn and Chenal are going to have their hands full just about every week.

Any major snubs for the Badgers that you see?