Antonio Fenelus Named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin senior cornerback Antonio Fenelus was named Monday to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award. A total of 37 players earned a spot as preseason candidates for the award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top defensive  back. Fenelus is one of four Big Ten Conference players named to the watch list for the 2011 edition  of the award. Additional players will be placed on the list as the season progresses, based on  performance.

The Badgers’ team leader in interceptions and passes defended as a junior last season, Fenelus earned  first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s media. He started all 13 games for the Badgers,  snaring four interceptions and defending 11 passes. Fenelus also was responsible for one fumble and  recovered two others in addition to racking up 56 total tackles out of the secondary. He matched his  career high with nine total stops in UW’s win over Purdue on Nov. 6, the same game in which he  recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. The performance against Purdue  earned Fenelus one of his two co-defensive player of the week honors in 2010. Fenelus is one of three  returning starters in the Badgers’ secondary for 2011, where he is joined by fellow seniors Devin  Smith at the other cornerback spot and Aaron Henry at safety.

The Jim Thorpe Award celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2011. The annual honor is named for great  all-around athlete Jim Thorpe, who not only excelled as a two-way player on the gridiron but also  played professional baseball and was an Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon. The Thorpe Award winner will be selected from a pool of three finalists at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 8. The 25th Anniversary Jim Thorpe Award Banquet is set for Feb. 7, 2012, in Oklahoma City. UW opens the 2011 season by matching up with UNLV under the lights at Camp Randall Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., live on ESPN.

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Zeitler Named to the 2011 Outland Trophy Watch List

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin senior offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2011 Outland Trophy, the Football Writers  Association of America (FWAA)  announced Friday. This year’s  watch list is comprised of 65  players representing each Football  Bowl Subdivision conference, with  the Big Ten’s 13 representatives the  most of any league. Zeitler seeks to  become the Badgers’ third winner of  the Outland Trophy in the last six  seasons, joining 2010 honoree Gabe  Carimi and 2006 winner Joe Thomas. The award is presented annually to the best interior lineman in college football.

Zeitler enters his senior season as a two-year starter at right guard for the Badgers. He appeared in all 13 games last season, including starts in each of the season’s final nine games, and earned consensus All-Big Ten honorable mention. He was also twice named UW’s co-offensive player of the week. His contributions were evident in 2010, aiding a line that allowed the Badgers to pile up record-setting numbers on offense en route to the Big Ten championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl. UW’s offense topped the 70-point plateau three times and led the Big Ten with a school-record 41.5 points per game, including an average of 45.2 points in conference play — the second-best mark in Big ten history.

The line paved the way for a running game that tallied 48 rushing touchdowns and fell just four yards short of making UW the first team in FBS history to have three running backs rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. It also provided protection for a passing attack that saw starting quarterback Scott Tolzien set school records and rank among the national leaders in completion percentage (72.9 percent) and passer rating (165.9).

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 25-man team and eventually the three Outland finalists to be named on Nov. 21. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner.

The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third oldest award in major college football. The winner of the 66th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn and Kansas at the turn of the century, will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 8 on ESPN.

Weekly Poll – “Can UW Really Run the Table”

MADISON, Wis–  The hype for the Badgers has been off the charts since the news broke Monday morning that Russell Wilson will be wearing Cardinal and White this fall.  Now to some national pundits the talks of a BCS Title game and perfect season seem to be the

"Can Bucky really run the table"

expectations for Wisconsin.  Some are also saying Russell Wilson has to be considered a Heisman front-runner.  Now that all sounds amazing, trust me it’s awesome that the Badgers are getting some serious love around the nation before the season for once, but it’s still only July 1st!  The Badgers haven’t had these type of expectations maybe ever in the history of the program, so it’s a lot to expect.  However it’s a very reachable expectation of you really breakdown the schedule.  Now does the month of October look very tough, no question about it, but if you really look at the month of October a little deeper it really comes down to two games at Ohio State and at Michigan State.  Some of you just said to yourself this guy is crazy, how does he not figure Nebraska is going to be a tough game!  It is, but let’s be honest if I was a betting man I’m taking UW at night at Camp Randal against anyone, yes anyone!!  So yeah it’s tough but I’ll be shocked if UW doesn’t win that game, but the two back to back road games will be the deciding games.  I’m sure they will win one of them, but I still can’t bring myself around to saying they will win both.  So this weeks poll is: Will Wisconsin go 12 – 0, I’ve just told you I feel they will not, don’t get me wrong it wouldn’t shock me, and once I see them on the field my perception may change, but right now I’m penciling UW down for a 11 – 1 record and a return trip to the Rose Bowl.  Now you’ve heard my answer, now it’s your time to vote, let’s see what the majority of UW fans are thinking!

Wilson Commits to Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. — Russell Wilson has committed to Wisconsin and plans to play football for the Badgers and attend graduate school at UW beginning this fall, head coach Bret Bielema announced Monday.

Wilson played quarterback for three seasons at NC State before playing baseball this summer with the Asheville Tourists in the Colorado Rockies farm system. In his three seasons with the Wolfpack, Wilson earned All-ACC honors each year and threw for 8,545 yards and 76

Wilson picks UW over Auburn

touchdowns (against just 26 interceptions). That yardage total is third-best in NC State history and his TD total is second-best in school annals and third-best in ACC history.

Heading into this season, his 76 TD passes are third-most among active players, trailing only Case Keenum of Houston and Kellen Moore of Boise State. Wilson completed 682-of-1180 passes (57.8 percent) and had a 135.5 pass efficiency rating in 36 career games at NC State.
Wilson also ran for 17 career scores, making him responsible for 93 TDs in his career, the second-best mark in school and ACC history. His 682 career completions trail only Philip Rivers in the Wolfpack record book.

A second-team All-ACC performer and team captain in 2010, Wilson led the ACC in passing yards per game (274.1) and total offense (307.5). That total offense mark ranked 10th in the FBS ranks while his passing mark ranked 15th.  As a sophomore, Wilson was an honorable mention All-ACC performer. He ranked fourth nationally in touchdown passes with 31, a mark that led the ACC. He attempted 379-straight passes without throwing an interception, dating from the Clemson game of 2008 to the Wake Forest game of 2009, the longest streak in NCAA history.

A native of Richmond, Va., Wilson burst on the scene in 2008, becoming the first freshman ever to be named the first-team All-ACC quarterback and also earning the league’s Rookie of the Year award. He led the ACC in passing efficiency (133.9), touchdown passes (17) and total offense (213.0).

Wisconsin opens fall camp on Aug. 4 with practice starting the next day. The Badgers’ first game is Thursday, Sept. 1 vs. UNLV. The game is in prime time (7 p.m. CT) on ESPN.

“Russell will come in and compete for the starting quarterback position,” Bielema said. “This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin. However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team.”

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