Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor becomes 1st sophomore to win Badgers’ Team MVP since 1947
The postseason honors keep piling up for University of Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.
His most recent came from the vote of his own teammates and coaches. Taylor was named the Jimmy Demetral Team MVP at the Badgers’ end-of-the-year banquet Friday night, becoming just the third sophomore to win the award.
The other two sophomores to collect the honor were Clarence Esser in 1944 and Robert “Red” Wilson in 1947. UW’s handed out the award every year since 1926.
Taylor led the nation in rushing this season with 1,989 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. He won the Doak Walker Award on Thursday night as the best running back in the country.
Senior guard Beau Benzschawel and Michael Deiter shared the Offensive Player of the Year Award, while senior inside linebackers T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly were named co-Defensive Players of the Year. Another inside linebacker, junior Chris Orr, took home Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Benzschawel and Deiter have started a combined 101 straight games for UW since 2015. Deiter’s 53 starts are a program record.
Edwards (104) and Connelly (89) have both already set career highs in tackles heading into this month’s Pinstripe Bowl against Miami. Edwards became the first Badgers linebacker to record 100 tackles since Chris Borland in 2013.
Fullback Alec Ingold (offense), outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (defense) and kicker Rafael Gaglianone (special teams) all won Impact Player of the Year awards.
Rookie of the Year honors went to tight end Jake Ferguson (offense) and defensive end Matt Henningsen. Ferguson ranks second on the team in catches (34), receiving yards (441) and receiving touchdowns (4). Henningsen, who began the year as a walk-on, started nine games and recorded 28 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack.
Running back Taiwan Deal, who played in just six games over the previous two seasons due to injuries, won the Comeback Player of the Year. He’s rushed for 493 yards and five touchdowns as Taylor’s backup.
Left tackle Jon Dietzen and nose tackle Olive Sagapolu won Coaches Appreciation Awards, given annually to an offensive and defensive player who has contributed to the team’s success to the best of his abilities. The selection is based on improvement, attitude and willingness to help the program in all areas.
The Ivan Williamson Scholastic Award, presented to the player who has been exemplary in the areas of scholarship and sportsmanship, went to senior safety Evan Bondoc. Another senior safety, D’Cota Dixon, won the Badger Power Award for his work in UW’s strength and conditioning program.
Senior tight end Zander Neuville, who suffered a season-ending injury during practice in early October, won the Tom Wiesner Award. The honor is presented annually to the Wisconsin-born student-athlete whose loyalty, hard work, spirit and dedication are unselfishly directed to the success of the team.
Isaac Kysely won the Otis Green Manager Award, given to the student manager whose leadership, dedication and work ethic led to the success of the football program.