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November 23, 2009

Clay tabbed unanimous player of the year

Though Wisconsin's Big Ten regular season came to a close in disappointing fashion, several of the Badgers key players were pleasantly surprised when league awards were announced.

The following are the awards handed out during the Big Ten Network's post-season award show:

Big Ten Offensive player of the year: John Clay:

Clay was unanimously named the conference offensive player of the year following his 1,224 yards and 13-touchdown season through conference play. During the season, he logged seven 100-yard rushing games and finished with an average of 111.3 yards per game. His 13 touchdown's overall and 10 in league play topped the conference standings.

Plus, he still has one regular season game remaining as UW heads out to Hawaii for the regular season finale. With the distinction, Clay joins Brent Moss (1993) and Ron Dayne (1999) as Badger running backs to win the award.

Big Ten Freshman of the year: Chris Borland

-Chris Borland, a freshman from Ohio, was named the unanimous freshman of the year by both the coaches and media. He finished the season with five forced fumbles and 46 tackles, good for tops for UW during conference play. Despite just starting four games, he is tied for the conference lead with three fumble recoveries. He was a special teams strongpoint and even blocked a punt.

When you add on the fact that he finished third on UW with 7.5 tackles for loss and logged an interception, it becomes clear why he was named freshman of the year.

First Team All-Conference offensive picks for UW: (Media)

-John Clay- Sophomore running back (Only unanimous pick in both polls)

Clay finished the season with a league high 1,224 yards and 13 total touchdowns, including 10 in conference games. He was also named the unanimous Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award.

-John Moffitt- Junior left guard

Even though he missed a couple of starts with a shoulder injury early on and was moved from center to left guard, Moffitt was still able to put together a solid junior campaign. On Monday night, he was honored with his first team All-Big Ten conference selection.

-Gabe Carimi- Junior left tackle

Carimi suffered what looked to be a serious knee injury during fall camp bust still managed to get back for the season opener. He wasn't always at 100 percent, but he played like it during the Big Ten season. Now, as a result, he was given the distinction as All-Big Ten by the media.

-Garrett Graham- Senior tight end

Graham, who finished with 41 receptions for 502 yards and seven touchdowns, was named to the First-team All-Big Ten team for his performance. He ranked second on the team in both receptions and yards, but was a go-to target for Scott Tolzien in the red zone.

(Coaches)

-Moffitt
-Clay

Second Team Offensive All-Conference for UW: (Coaches)

-Garrett Graham- Senior tight end
-Gabe Carimi- Junior left tackle

(Media)

-None

First Team Defensive All-Conference for UW: (Media):

-O'Brien Schofield- Senior defensive end

Schofield finished third on the team with 55 tackles, but led the team with 20.5 tackles for loss. For most of the season, he led the entire country in that category. It was a great season for a player that showed hard work does indeed pay off.

First Team Defensive All-Conference for UW: (Coaches):

-Schofield

Second team defense (Media):

-None

Second team defense (Coaches):

-Jay Valai- Junior strong safety

-Valai finished the season with 45 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups at the strong safety position. The selection marks the second straight season that Valai has earned second team all-conference. Only Valai and Graham have that distinction for UW over the past two seasons.

UW post season award notes:

-UW's five first-team All-Big Ten selections are UW's most since 2004. The last time the Badgers had four offensive players named first-team all-conference was in 1999.

-Nine of the 12 UW players honored by the Big Ten have eligibility remaining.

-The only other time Wisconsin had a Big Ten Player of the Year and a Big Ten Freshman of the Year in the same season was in 1999 when Ron Dayne took home the POY award and Brooks Bollinger nabbed FOY distinctions.

-Clay is only the sixth sophomore in the league to win the award, joining Purdue great Drew Brees, Michigan backs Tyrone Wheatley and Jon Vaughn and Michigan State running backs Tico Duckett and Lorenzo White.

-Borland is the sixth UW player to earn the award as well. He joins Tony Lowery (1987), Ron Dayne (1996), Brook Bollinger (1999), Anthony Davis (2001) and P.J. Hill (2006) as the only Badgers to earn the award.

Coach of the Year:

-Iowa's Kirk Ferentz brought home the win. It's the third time he won the award with his last title following the 2004 season. His team was trailing during seven of the eight conference wins, and finished with a six-win league slate. His team, at 10-2, may slip into a BCS bowl game before it's all said and done.

Defensive Player of the Year:

-Greg Jones from Michigan State was the recipient of the award.


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