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Chris Borland named 2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

Borland beat out Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, among others, for the Nagurski-Woodson award.

Mike McGinnis

In the latest round of conference awards announced Tuesday, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

The award caps a season in which Borland pioneered the Badgers in switching to a 3-4 base defense under first-year defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. The switch worked about as well as anyone could've expected; Wisconsin ended the regular season sixth in both yards allowed per game (294.0) and points surrendered per game (14.8).

Borland himself finished with 102 tackles -- 40 more than any other Badger, and a mark that equates to 9.3 tackles per game, third-highest in the conference. The Kettering, Ohio, native also finished with 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and one forced fumble and one fumble recover. Along the way, he tied the Big Ten record with 14 career forced fumbles and tied Wisconsin's all-time record with nine fumble recoveries.

The numbers are all the more impressive considering Borland missed one game (Nov. 2 vs. Iowa) and three quarters of another (Oct. 19 vs. Illinois) due to injury.

The official release from Wisconsin can be found below. The other major Big Ten award winners include:

  • Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year: Braxton Miller, Ohio State
  • Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
  • Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches vote): Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
  • Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media vote): Dantonio

MADISON, Wis. -- Already carrying the title of top linebacker in the league, Wisconsin senior Chris Borland added an even more prestigious honor to his decorated career Tuesday.

In a season that saw him help the Badgers build one of the nation's top defenses while furthering his reputation as a consistently excellent individual performer, Borland was named the Big Ten's Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year for 2013.

The award comes on the heels of Borland being named the league's Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year and a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection on Monday.

Borland is the fifth Wisconsin player to be named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, joining Troy Vincent (1991), Tom Burke (1998), Jamar Fletcher (2000) and Erasmus James (2004).

Borland finished the regular season ranked third in the Big Ten at 9.3 tackles per game. He leads the Badgers with 102 total tackles -- 40 more than UW's second-leading tackler. He also recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

He matched the Big Ten record with the 14th forced fumble of his career and tied UW's all-time record with his ninth fumble recovery.

Borland's 102 tackles were the fifth-most of any Big Ten player despite the fact that Borland missed an entire game -- and three quarters of another -- due to injury.

He is just the fifth player in Wisconsin history to record three 100-tackle seasons, and the first since Pete Monty accomplished the feat from 1994-96. Borland's 410 career tackles rank him sixth all-time at Wisconsin and No. 2 among active FBS players.

His 50.0 career tackles for loss rank 10th among active players and fourth in UW history.

With double-digit tackles in each of his last six full games, Borland averaged 11.8 stops and 1.0 TFLs per contest in that span. He finished the regular season with seven games in which he recorded at least 10 tackles.

Borland's efforts have anchored a UW defense that ranks No. 2 in the league in both scoring defense (14.8 points per game) and total defense (294.0 yards per game). Wisconsin ranks sixth nationally in both categories.

Borland, who leads all UW student-athletes in community service hours, was also named UW's winner of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award on Monday and is a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Senior CLASS Award.