WISCONSIN BADGERS

Wisconsin junior Leo Chenal named the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald linebacker of the year

Jeff Potrykus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal is the Big Ten's Linebacker of the Year.

MADISON – Wisconsin junior linebacker Leo Chenal on Tuesday was named the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year.

Chenal finished second in the Big Ten in tackles per game (10.6). He was fourth in total tackles (106) despite missing the first two games of the season.

The junior led the league in tackles for loss (1.7 per game). Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie was second at 1.5 per game.

Chenal also finished fourth in sacks (0.7 per game).

Chenal is the third UW player to be named the league’s linebacker of the year. Chris Borland won the award in 2013, when he was named the league’s defensive player of the year; and Joe Schobert won the award in 2015.

Coincidentally, Chenal (Grantsburg) and Schobert (Waukesha West) are in-state products.

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Senior inside linebacker Jack Sanborn was a first-team pick according to the coaches and a second-team pick by the media.

Junior nose tackle Keeanu Benton was a second-team pick according to the coaches and an honorable mention pick by the media.

Sanborn finished tied for fifth in the league in tackles for loss (1.21 per game) and 14th in the league in tackles (7.3 per game).

Benton helped UW control the line of scrimmage for most of the season and finished the regular season with 2½ sacks, five tackles for loss, two passes broken up, two fumble recoveries and 24 total tackles.

Defensive end Matt Henningsen, a former walk-on from Menomonee Falls, was a consensus third-team pick. Cornerback Caesar Williams was a third-team pick by the coaches and honorable mention according to the media.

Six UW players were named honorable mention. They are outside linebackers Noah Burks and Nick Herbig; end Isaiah Mullens; safeties Scott Nelson and Collin Wilder; and cornerback Faion Hicks.

Former UW player Mel Tucker, in his second season at Michigan State, was named the Dave McClain coach of the year.