Three members of the no. 5-ranked Wisconsin football team were named finalists for major awards on Monday.
Senior tight end Troy Fumagalli was announced as one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, presented to the nation’s outstanding tight end. He joins Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki as a finalist.
Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor was named one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, presented to the nation’s premier running back. He joins Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Stanford’s Bryce Love as finalists.
Junior ILB T.J. Edwards was named one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation’s best linebacker.
Fumagali has caught a team-high 36 passes for 460 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 12.8 yards per reception. Fumagali is the third UW tight end to be named a Mackey finalist, joining Travis Beckum (2007) and Lance Kendricks (2010).
Taylor is in the midst of one of the best freshman seasons in NCAA history, having rushed for 1,657 yards and 12 touchdowns. His yardage total ranks as the seventh-highest by a freshman and leaves him just 269 yards shy of breaking Adrian Peterson’s freshman record of 1,925.
Taylor is the fifth UW running back to be named a Doak Walker Award finalist, joining Ron Dayne (1999 and 2000), John Clay (2010), Montee Ball (2011 and 2012) and Melvin Gordon (2014).
Dayne (2000), Ball (2012) and Gordon (2014) all went on to win the award.
Wisconsin’s first Butkus Award finalist, Edwards has been a constant for the Badgers’ outstanding defense once again this season. Edwards ranks second on the team with 60 total tackles and has recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. Edwards’ four interceptions, including one returned 54 yards for a touchdown, are the most by a linebacker in the FBS this season.
Edwards efforts have been key to a unit that ranks No. 2 nationally in scoring defense (13.1 ppg), total defense (264.4 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (94.8) and stands No. 1 in rushing defense (79.4 ypg).
Edwards joins Michigan’s Devin Bush, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Clemson’s Dorian O’Daniel and Georgia’s Roquan Smith as a finalist.