Yesterday we began our final stretch run here in our unveiling of The B1G Time's Preseason Top 25 and we started it off with a bang on the defensive end with Bradley Roby of Ohio State taking up residence in our Top 10 at No. 10.
Today we're sticking on the defensive side of the ball and moving to a position group that hasn't been all that well represented so far on our list and that's linebacker. In fact this will be just the 2nd linebacker to make the list to date.
So, let's get down to business and unveil our No. 9 player – also our 3rd straight defensive player on the board.
No. 9: Chris Borland (LB, Wisconsin):
2012 Stats/Honors: 104 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 6 passes defensed, 3 fumbles caused, 3 fumbles recovered; 1st team All-Big Ten (coaches, HM All-Big Ten (media)
What makes him worthy: Borland has played just about every position a linebacker can in his time at Wisconsin, he's also fought through injury to become one of the most feared linebackers in the league, if not the country.
The once under recruited Borland has been racking up the stats in big ways since his freshman season and has topped the 100 tackle mark in each of the past two seasons. Entering 2013 with a new defensive scheme predicated on being aggressive we could see the most aggressive of UW's linebackers thrive. If he remains healthy (was held out of spring or that purpose) Borland could become a runaway candidate for linebacker of the year.
He's got a knack for rushing the QB and often times was the only one blitzing last season for the Badgers – again, expect that to change under DC Dave Aranda's switch to the 3-4. As he enters this season he's 4th in the country in career sacks (41.5) amongst active players. He's also already the Badgers record holder for career forced fumbles and needs just one to break the all-time Big Ten record (currently held by Purdue great Ryan Kerrigan).
All that adds up to one of the best players the conference has heading into 2013. Words don't do him justice, so take a look at his highlights from last season.
Top 25 Players:
No. 25: Christian Bryant (S, Ohio State)
No. 24: Ryan Groy (OL, Wisconsin)
No. 23: Isaiah Lewis (S, Michigan State)
No. 22: Carlos Hyde (RB, Ohio State)
No. 21: Denicos Allen (LB, Michigan State)
No. 20: Jacob Pedersen (TE, Wisconsin)
No. 19: Zac Epping (C, Minnesota)
No. 18: Jordan Hall (RB, Ohio State)
No. 17: Cody Latimer (WR, Indiana)
No. 16: Kenny Bell (WR, Nebraska)
No. 15: James White (RB, Wisconsin)
No. 14: Kain Colter (QB, Northwestern)
No. 13: Jared Abbrederis (WR, Wisconsin)
No. 12: Venric Mark (RB, Northwestern)
No. 11: Ra'Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
No. 10: Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)