Three Wisconsin football players appear in PFF’s top 101 players in 2021

The Wisconsin football team had an up-and-down season in 2021, but a few players enjoyed a very productive year.

ProFootball Focus released their top 101 college football players from the 2021 season and the list included three Wisconsin football players.

28. Leo Chenal

Chenal put up some numbers that would be great for any linebacker that played a full season. Chenal, however, missed the first two games of the season after he tested positive for covid. In just 11 games this season, Chenal amassed over 115 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, and two forced fumbles this year.

Leo Chenal is the highest Wisconsin football player on the list. From PFF:

Chenal’s explosiveness at 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds is a sight to behold and made him among the best run defenders and blitzers in college football, as he earned a 94.1 run defense and 91.8 pass-rush grade this year. The former is the third-best of the PFF College era — behind only Micah Parsons in 2019 and Reuben Foster in 2016. Of his 26 pressures (on 102 rushes), 10 were a sack while eight resulted in a quarterback hit.

After his huge season in Madison, Chenal announced he will forgo his final season in Wisconsin and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

47. Jack Sanborn

The other part of Death Row also enjoyed a great season. We didn’t hear as much about Sanborn’s season because of the year Chenal was having. Sanborn may not have made all those flashy splash plays, but he was still a very solid and dependable linebacker. In 13 games, Sanborn totaled 89 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and a fumble recovery.

From PFF:

Sanborn’s ability to attack downhill against the run and as a pass-rusher was vital to the Badgers’ defensive success this year. He recorded an 84.8 run defense and 85.4 pass-rush grade in 2021. The only other off-ball linebackers to clear an 80.0 mark in both metrics were Dean, Lloyd and his teammate Chenal — all of whom are among the top 50 on this list.

Sanborn will also be entering the 2022 NFL Draft and should be a day 2 pick. Wisconsin will have some serious production to replace in the upcoming season.

77. Braelon Allen

Braelon Allen burst onto the scene as a true freshman this season. Did you know he is only 17 years old?

Allen’s freshman season garnered a lot of attention from around the country this year. His name has even been brought up as a potential Heisman candidate for next year. He played in 12 games this season and ran for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns. He ran for over 100 yards in seven-straight games and in eight of the Badgers’ last nine games, including 228 against Nebraska in a 35-28 Wisconsin victory.

From PFF:

The former four-star recruit — who is yet to turn 18 years old — decided to skip his senior year of high school and reclassify for the 2021 class. He joined Wisconsin early to play safety or linebacker but instead found a home at running back — and he is already among the best backs in the country. Allen led all Power Five backs in yards after contact per attempt at 4.5 in 2021. He’s a star in the making.

Allen is going to be a huge part of the Wisconsin offense for the next two years and has all the potential to be the next great Wisconsin running back.