Wisconsin’s backfield tandem of senior QB Russell Wilson and junior RB Montee Ball each were named the best at their positions and highlighted a list of 17 Badgers named All-Big Ten on Monday as the league announced its postseason awards and all-conference teams.
After scoring a Big Ten-record 34 touchdowns this season, Ball was named the inaugural winner of the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year award, which is named for former Badgers -- and Heisman Trophy winners -- Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne.
“It means a lot,” Ball said. “It’s something I’ve been working very hard for since I was young. And getting an award with Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne’s names on it is an honor itself. I’m very blessed to have won this award, but I know I still have to keep working hard.
“The tradition of running backs here at Wisconsin is one of the reasons I chose this university. It’s a tradition that we really embrace.”
Wilson, who is on pace to break the NCAA record for passing efficiency, became the first recipient of the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year honor.
"I am humbled to receive an award that is associated with two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the Big Ten,” Wilson said. “Just to be mentioned in the same sentence with Drew Brees and Bob Griese is an enormous honor.
“Drew Brees, especially, has been a major inspiration in my progress as a quarterback. I have admired his tenacity to overcome those who doubted his ability to succeed based simply on his height. It has always been a dream of mine to follow in those footsteps."
In all, the Badgers placed 12 players on either the All-Big Ten first or second teams and saw five others earn honorable mention. A total of nine Wisconsin players earned first-team honors on either the coaches’ or media’s All-Big Ten squads -- including five consensus first-team picks.
The nine first-team picks are the most in UW history, surpassing the 1993 team’s eight first-team selections.