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Badgers OL Tanor Bortolini named as best interior lineman in CFB for Week 1

The Badgers offensive lineman earned high praise by football writers for his Week 1 performance.

Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Tanor Bortolini was named the “Outland Trophy National Player of The Week”, selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

For the first time ever, the FWAA is selecting an “Outland Trophy National Player of the Week” for every single slate of games during the 2023 season, and Bortolini was the first to earn the honors this year.

Here’s what the FWAA had to say about Bortolini’s selection for Week 1.

“Behind Bortolini, a 6-4, 310-pound junior from Kewaunee, Wis., the Badgers’ push up front led to 312 rushing yards, Wisconsin’s highest total on the ground in 21 games since a 391-yard effort at Illinois on Oct. 9, 2021. Wisconsin running backs Chez Mellusi (157 yards) and Braelon Allen (141) became the only Power 5 teammates to both rush for 100 yards in games over the weekend and now stand 1-2 in rushing in the Big Ten after Week 1.”

Bortolini isn’t the only Badger to be associated with the “Outland Trophy” list in the past, as Wisconsin has seen two outright winners in Gabe Carimi and Joe Thomas, back in 2010 and 2006 respectively.

Over the weekend, many praised the Badgers’ stout running back duo in Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi, which was well deserved, but the offensive line deserves some credit for creating the holes at the line of scrimmage that set up the several explosive plays on the ground, hence why I graded the unit with an “A” on Saturday.

Here’s what Bortolini said about his performance and the offense following the team’s win on Saturday night.

Bortolini, who was forced to change from left guard to center following the injury to Jake Renfro, proved to be capable in his new position.

As I said earlier this offseason, Bortolini is arguably the team’s best offensive lineman, given his versatility, as well as capabilities in both the run and pass game.

Now, the offensive lineman is getting some well-deserved recognition to kick off the 2023 season.