We're counting down our rankings of the Top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2013 season. This list is based on past performance and potential for the upcoming season only. We do not consider NFL potential for purposes of these rankings.
Up next is one of the most productive linebackers in Wisconsin history ...
No. 6: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin, redshirt senior, 5-foot-11, 246 pounds
2012 postseason ranking: No. 13
2012 numbers: Had 104 tackles, including 10 for loss and 4.5 sacks, plus three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Why he's here: If it seems like Borland has been around a while, that's because he has. He was a key player on Wisconsin's 2009 team as a true freshman before missing the next season with a shoulder injury. It also feels like Borland has been around forever because all he does is make big plays.
He has registered more than 100 tackles in each of the past two seasons and has 41.5 career tackles for loss. Opposing ball carriers should have also learned by now that they need to really wrap the pigskin up tight when Borland comes toward them. He had 13 career forced fumbles and needs just one more to tie the FBS record.
This will be Borland's first full season not playing alongside Mike Taylor, another high-volume tackler, and his role will change some with the Badgers going to more 3-4 looks on defense. But Borland is an outstanding athlete with a great understanding of the game, so he should adapt well. And we know he has plenty of experience to lean on.