MADISON, Wis. – Another member of the Wisconsin football team has garnered national attention with the release of three more major awards’ preseason watch lists.
Junior wide-out Jared Abbrederis is among 48 of the nation’s top receivers who were named to the 2012 Biletnikoff award preseason watch list. Along with Abbrederis, left tackle Ricky Wagner, center Travis Frederick, and linebackers Mike Taylor and Chris Borland were also highlighted, as all four are candidates for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Borland was also named to the Butkus Award watch list, an honor given annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
The three preseason watch lists were announced by the Tallahassee Football Quarterback Club, the Rotary Club of Houston, as well as the Butkus Foundation, as the National College Football Awards Association continues its two-week rollout of preseason lists for its major awards.
Abbrederis returns for his junior season after tallying the fifth-most receiving yards in school history, while also earning consensus honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors in 2011. He caught 55 passes to go along with eight touchdowns last season, finishing second in the Big Ten and 13th nationally with 1,999 all-purpose yards.
Borland returns to the watch list for both the Butkus and Lombardi awards for the second-consecutive year after a prolific defensive season in 2011.
He finished second in the Big Ten with 143 tackles -- trailing only teammate Mike Taylor -- en route to consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors last season. The Kettering, Ohio, native ranked third in the Big Ten and tied for 12th nationally with 19.0 tackles for loss, the most by any middle linebacker in the country. His total was also the highest for a linebacker in UW history.
After being named to the Nagurski preseason watch list just a week ago, Taylor begins his candidacy for his second major national award. A first-team All-Big Ten pick by the league media, Taylor led the conference with 150 tackles last season to rank third nationally in total stops.
The Ashwaubenon, Wis., native had seven games with at least 10 tackles on the year, including a career-high 22 stops against Ohio State on Oct. 29.
Wagner and Frederick also up for Lombardi Award
After earning spots on the Outland Trophy preseason watch list, Wagner and Frederick join Taylor and Borland as candidates for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top college lineman or linebacker.
A consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in each of the last two seasons, Wagner has appeared in 38 games through the first three seasons of his Badgers career. He has started 24 contests, including all 14 games last year at left tackle, a position he moved to for the start of the 2011 season after previously playing right tackle.
A converted tight end, Wagner played in 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2009 before starting 10 games at right tackle as a sophomore in 2010.
Frederick started 13 games for the Badgers as a sophomore in 2011, including 11 at left guard and a pair at center in place of injured teammate Peter Konz. With Konz joining the Atlanta Falcons as a second-round NFL draft pick, Frederick will move to the center role for the Badgers full time in 2012.
The Sharon, Wis., native was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten pick last season after redshirting the 2010 campaign. Frederick became the first true freshman in school history to start a season-opener on the offensive line when he snapped as the Badgers’ center against Northern Illinois in 2009.
He went on to start four games as a rookie and has 18 games under his belt heading into his third season on the field.
Semifinalists for the Butkus award will be announced Oct. 22, while the 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff award will be named Nov. 12.
The 43rd Rotary Lombardi Award will be announced on national television following four rounds of voting by the selection committee.
Badgers on 2012 Preseason Watch Lists
• RB Montee Ball: Maxwell Award
• LB Chris Borland: Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award
• OL Travis Frederick: Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award
• TE Jacob Pedersen: John Mackey Award
• LB Mike Taylor: Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award
• OL Ricky Wagner: Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award
• WR Jared Abbrederis: Biletnikoff Award