Wisconsin's T.J. Edwards Earns First-Team Honors

Wisconsin's T.J. Edwards Earns First-Team Honors

Football

Wisconsin's T.J. Edwards Earns First-Team Honors

MADISON, Wis. – A year ago, the University of Wisconsin placed 12 players on the Big Ten’s all-defensive team, including six first- or second-team players from a unit that was statistically one of the best in the country.

This year, only one player earned that distinction.

Inside linebacker T.J. Edwards earned first-team All-Big Ten honors when the conference’s defensive teams were announced Tuesday on BTN Live.

The media named Edwards to the first team, while the coaches selected him to the second team. Safety D’Cota Dixon (consensus), inside linebacker Ryan Connelly (coaches) and outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (coaches) earned third-team honors. Connelly and Van Ginkel were honorable mention selections by the media, while the coaches gave kicker Rafael Gaglianone an honorable mention recognition.

All the players listed are seniors, giving defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jim Leonhard some gaps to fill moving into 2019.

A four-year starter for Wisconsin, Edwards recorded double-digit tackle totals in five of his last seven games. His 18 tackles against Minnesota Saturday gives him a career-high 104 stops, making him the first UW linebacker to break the 100-tackle mark since Chris Borland in 2013.

Connelly led the Badgers with 88 tackles last season and has record 89 this year in two fewer games.

Dixon, one of the players who earned first-team honors last season, recorded 43 tackles in an injury-plagued season that has limited him to only nine games. The three-year starter earned a spot on the American Football Coaches’ Association Good Works team earlier this week

Van Ginkel has also battled through injuries this season, although the outside linebacker hasn’t missed a game. Entering the bowl game, Van Ginkel has 52 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and a team-best 4.5 sacks.

Gaglianone made 10-of-15 field goals to up his career mark to 70, a new program record.

The All-Big Ten offensive teams and awards will be announced on BTN Live at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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