By Aaron Morse – 11/30/2021
Little-known, small town recruit Leo Chenal became the third Wisconsin Badger to win the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award on Tuesday following previous winners Chris Borland (2013) and Joe Schobert (2015). He was also named to the All-Big Ten team.
Chenal came into the season a tad under radar with so many great players around him, but Chenal was outstanding all season long. Chenal finished the regular season with 106 total tackles, fourth-best in the conference. He also was tied for fourth in the Big Ten, with fellow Badger Nick Herbig, with seven sacks, and second in tackles for loss with 17. He did all of this while playing two less games than everyone else near the top of those leaderboards.
Chenal was not the only Badger to be recognized by the Big Ten, however. Chenal did not do it all by himself this season and the Big Ten noticed that as the other ten defensive starters for the Badgers were honored.
The captain of the Badgers’ defense, Jack Sanborn was named to the first team. Sanborn improved on his third-team selection last year by collecting 88 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and he added 3.5 sacks.
Keeanu Benton was named to the second team with 24 tackles, five for loss, and he collected 2.5 sacks.
Matt Henningsen and Caesar Williams were awarded with third-team honors. Henningsen had 31 tackles, 5.5 of which were for a loss, and three sacks. Meanwhile, Williams had three interceptions and broke up an additional six passes this season.
The other six starters on the Badgers defense- Noah Burks, Herbig, Isaiah Mullens, Faion Hicks, Scott Nelson, and Collin Wilder were all given honorable mentions.
An extremely talented defense was honored appropriately.