Every defensive starter from Wisconsin earned some form of All-Big Ten recognition when the conference handed out its awards Tuesday morning.
At the top of the list was junior Leo Chenal. He was named Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year for his efforts in leading the top-ranked unit in the conference. Chenal finished second in the Big Ten in tackles per game, first in tackles for loss per game and fourth in sacks per game. Despite missing two games, he ended up leading the Badgers in tackles (106), tackles for loss (17) and tied for the most sacks (7).
Chenal is the third Wisconsin linebacker to win the award, joining Chris Borland (2013) and Joe Schobert (2015). Also a Butkus Award (top LB in the country) finalist, Chenal was an All-Big Ten honorable mention pick last season.
Meanwhile, fellow inside linebacker Jack Sanborn was a first-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and a second-team pick by the media. A three-year starter, Sanborn set career highs with 87 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss, while also posting 3.5 sacks.
Earning second-team honors from the coaches was defensive lineman Keeanu Benton, while cornerback Caesar Williams was a third-team pick. Defensive end Matt Henningsen was a consensus third-team pick.
Benton and Williams were named honorable mention by the media. Linebackers Nick Herbig and Noah Burks, defensive lineman Isaiah Mullens, cornerback Faion Hicks, along with safeties Scott Nelson and Collin Wilder were consensus honorable mention picks.