<
>

Big Ten rankings: No. 13, Chris Borland

2/7/2013

The Big Ten postseason player rankings march on with a familiar name. Linebacker has been a theme so far in the rundown, and our next man up has been one of the Big Ten's best 'backers for quite some time. As a reminder, these rankings are based solely on performance from the 2012 season.

Wisconsin's do-it-all defender checks in at ...

No. 13: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin, junior, 5-foot-11, 242 pounds

Preseason rank: No. 8

2012 numbers: Recorded 104 tackles, including 10 for loss and 4.5 sacks; forced and recovered three fumbles; recorded six pass breakups and a quarterback hurry

Why he's here: It's hard not to respect the way Borland plays the game. Described by some as a throwback, he would have been a star in any era, primarily because he does so many different things to help his team.

Borland once again proved to be the biggest difference-maker on Wisconsin's defense, forcing or recovering a fumble in five different games, including the Badgers' romp against Nebraska in the Big Ten title game. He's one of only three players in team history to record three forced fumbles in a season, and he has done so twice (2009, 2012). A first-team All-Big Ten selection from the coaches, Borland has recorded 13 forced fumbles in his career.

Despite knee issues and a hamstring injury that forced him to miss two games, Borland eclipsed 100 tackles for the second straight year and, along with fellow linebacker Mike Taylor, triggered a Badgers defense that finished 15th nationally in yards allowed, 17th in points allowed and 24th against the run. Borland had at least seven tackles in 11 of the 12 games he played, including 13 in the Big Ten championship. There's no doubt No. 44 is the cornerstone for Wisconsin's defense entering the 2013 season, and new coach Gary Andersen and the staff can't wait to work with Borland.

The countdown

No. 25: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

No. 24: Michael Carter, CB, Minnesota

No. 23: Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern

No. 22: Spencer Long, G, Nebraska

No. 21: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

No. 20: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

No. 19: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

No. 18: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

No. 17: Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan

No. 16: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

No. 15: Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State

No. 14: Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State