The Big Ten preseason player rankings, based on past performance and 2010 potential, continue with ...
No. 16: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin, So., 5-11, 232
2009 numbers: Tied for second in the Big Ten with five forced fumbles and tied for first with three fumble recoveries; ranked third on the Badgers in both tackles for loss (10.5) and sacks (5); returned six kickoffs and also recorded a punt block, an interception and three made extra points on three attempts.
Most recent ranking: Unranked in the 2009 postseason player rankings.
Making the case for Borland: Few freshmen in the country helped their teams in as many ways as Borland did last season. After making a name in preseason camp, Borland became a huge playmaker for the Badgers on defense and special teams, winning Big Ten Player of the Week honors in both categories. He played a major role in Wisconsin ranking 25th nationally in takeaways by forcing five fumbles, recovering three, recording an interception and blocking a punt that was recovered for a touchdown. He also showed his versatility by returning kickoffs and even converting three extra point attempts in a blowout victory at Hawaii. Borland can do a ton of things on a football field, and he was the obvious choice for Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2009. He missed spring practice following shoulder surgery but will return as a starter at linebacker for a Wisconsin team boasting Big Ten title aspirations.