Wisconsin Football: Wisconsin Badgers All-Time Team

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Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns free safety Jim Leonhard (30) drives Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels (81) out of bounds during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

All-Time Team: Safeties

Jim Leonhard: Our one and only double selection to the All-Time Team, Jim Leonhard was an impressive safety for the Badgers from 2001-2004, and during that time went from a walk-on out of Tony, Wisconsin to one of the best Badgers defensive backs in school history.

Leonhard didn’t earn a scholarship at UW until his senior season, despite being a starter as a sophomore and a junior. In his career he set a single-season record with 11 interceptions in 2002 (also had seven interceptions in 2003), and tied Jamar Fletcher‘s career record of 21 interceptions as a Badgers player. Leonhard also tied Mike Echols‘ single-season record of 25 passes defended.

In 2002 he led all of college football with 0.79 interceptions per game. He led the Big Ten in that category in both 2002 and 2003. He totaled 281 tackles during his time at UW, the 21st-best total in school history at the time of his graduation. When he graduated, his 180 career solo tackles were the 13th best mark in school history. He was the Badgers leading tackler in both 2003 and 2004.

Leonhard is fourth all-time at UW with 50 career passes defended, and is tied with Jack Ikegwuonu at fourth all-time at UW with 29 career passes deflected.

He was a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back in 2004, and was a Lott IMPACT Award finalist the same year for the award given to the defensive who has the biggest impact on and off the field. He was also a 2004 finalist for the Draddy Award, or the “Academic Heisman.”

He earned some sort of All-American status each year from 2002-2004, and was a first-team All-Big Ten defensive back those same three years.

Matt Vandenboom: With a name like VandenBoom, it would have been a shame if he wasn’t a good defender. Luckily, Matt VandenBoom was among the best in school history in the defensive backfield for Wisconsin.

A Kimberly, Wisconsin native, VandenBoom spent 1980-1982 on the UW campus. He burst onto the scene in 1981, picking off three passes in the season opener, helping the Badgers knock off top-ranked Michigan 21-14. He went on to finish the year with six total interceptions, tied for the best mark in the conference that season.

In 1981 he earned United Press First Team All-American status. He earned his second straight first Team All-Big Ten selection in 1982, and was a team captain in ’82 as well.

Next: Top 10 Quarterbacks in Wisconsin Football History

There are countless players who could have made it onto this list, and we want to hear who you think deserved consideration for one of the spots. Leave a comment below if you feel someone was missed or if you agree with the picks.