Wisconsin Football Countdown: No: 44, Chris Borland


As the countdown to the first Wisconsin football game of the season continues, Badger of Honor is taking a look at Badgers by the numbers, checking in on a different Badger or Badgers players who wore the number corresponding with the remaining days until the Badgers head to Texas to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 5.

Next up in our countdown, signifying 44 days until college football is back, is Chris Borland.

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Wisconsin Badgers

At UW from 2009 to 2013, Borland, a Kettering, Ohio, native, cemented his status as one of the best linebackers in school history.

He was a tackling machine and had a nose for the football.

As a freshman in 2009, he earned the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award after totaling 54 tackles — 10.5 for a loss — and adding 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, an interception and 3 passes defended. He was a first team Freshman All-American by Sporting News and Phil Steele, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, and UW’s Rookie of the year.

Borland was granted an injury redshirt season in 2010 after suffering an injury in the second game of the season.

He returned in 2011 and again put up big-time numbers. He had 143 tackles, second on the team (and in the conference) to Mike Taylor and tied for seventh in the country. His 19.0 tackles for loss was the third best number in the conference and 12th best in the country. It was the most tackles for a loss by an inside backer in the country, and the most by a backer in UW history.

He forced 5 fumbles — seventh best in the country — and added 2 interceptions and 7 passes defended. He was a consensus first team All-Big Ten player in 2011.

In 2012 he returned for another stellar season. He was second on the team with 104 tackles, the ninth best number in the Big Ten. He was 14th in the conference with 10 tackles for a loss.

He added 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 6 passed defended on his way to a first team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and an honorable mention selection by the media.

As a senior in 2013, Borland continued a similar path, totaling 111 tackles — tied for fourth in the Big Ten — including 72 solo tackles, the second-best mark in the conference. He went on a string of five straight double-digit tackle games in his final five games as a Badger.

He had 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 passes defended to finish out his senior season. He was the Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, a Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist, earned the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, was a consensus first team All-Big Ten player, and was a first team All-American according to the Football Writers Association of America.

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In his career at Wisconsin he is sixth all time with 420 total tackles and fifth in solo tackles with 234. His 50.0 tackles for loss are the fourth best number in school history, while his 17 sacks are eighth best in the UW record book.

His 15 career forced fumbles set a new Big Ten record and is the second most in FBS history. His 53 games played is the second most in school history.

He entered the 2014 NFL Draft and was a third round selection (No. 77 overall) by the San Francisco 49ers.  When pressed into action because of injuries in 2013, Borland answered the call, and went on to be named the NFL Rookie of the Month in November 2014. An injury in December shut him down for the rest of the season.

In eight starts his rookie season, Borland was impressive. He totaled 108 tackles, a sack and 2 interceptions.

In spring of 2015, Chris Borland made the stunning decision to retire, citing his concern for head injuries. He decided to return three-fourths of his more than $600,000 signing bonus to the team.

Who wore No. 44 first?

• Tackle John Parks first wore No. 44 in 1927.

Who wears No. 44 now?

• Redshirt junior tight end Eric Steffes currently wears No. 44 for the Badgers. He is in the running to see some snaps behind Austin Traylor and Troy Fumagalli this season.

Stay tuned to Badger of Honor as we continue our daily countdown in preparation of the season opener against Alabama.

Next: Wisconsin Football Experience

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