MADISON – Led by the league’s top linebacker, three key components of Wisconsin’s No. 1-ranked defense were named All-Big Ten on Monday.
Senior OLB Joe Schobert was named Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection, while senior safety Michael Caputo earned consensus second-team honors and junior OLB Vince Biegel was named to the All-Big Ten third team by both the league’s coaches and media.
Another five Badgers earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition: freshman ILB T.J. Edwards (coaches), senior CB Darius Hillary (coaches), senior S Tanner McEvoy (consensus), sophomore DE Chikwe Obasih (media) and junior CB Sojourn Shelton (media).
Selections on the offensive side of the ball will be announced Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. (CT) on BTN.
Schobert has racked up 18.5 tackles for loss on the season, ranking in a tie for No. 7 nationally and third among Big Ten players. His 9.5 sacks rank him in a tie for 11th nationally and third in the conference. Schobert also has tied UW’s single-season record for forced fumbles with five, a total that ranks him No. 2 nationally this season, and has recorded 14 quarterback hurries. He tallied the first interception of his career last Saturday at Minnesota.
Schobert is the Badgers’ second recipient of the Butkus-Fitzgerald award, joining 2013 honoree Chris Borland. He was a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season.
Wisconsin’s team captain, Caputo is a consensus second-team All-Big Ten pick for the second straight season. He owns a pair of interceptions and has forced two fumbles on the season. He also has recorded six pass breakups and ranks fourth on the team with 58 total tackles.
Adding in 8.0 sacks of his own, Biegel has combined with Schobert to record 17.5, the most by any linebacker duo in the FBS. Biegel also owns 14.0 tackles for loss and ranks third among UW players with 64 total stops on the season. It’s the second-consecutive All-Big Ten honor for Biegel, who earned a spot on the media’s second team last season.
Together, the Badgers’ honorees have contributed to a unit that leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 13.1 points per game. UW has allowed an average of 267.1 yards per game to rank No. 3 nationally in total defense, with the Badgers ranking No. 5 in rushing defense (97.9 ypg) and No. 6 in passing defense (169.2 ypg).
Also Monday, senior FB Derek Watt was named UW’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.