MADISON, Wis. (Wisconsin Athletics) Three members of the No. 5-ranked Wisconsin football team were named finalists for major awards on Monday.
Senior TE 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 RB Jonathan Taylor was announced as 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.
Fumagalli seems a perfect fit for the Mackey Award, which seeks to honor “complete” tight ends who excel both as pass catchers and as blockers. The senior captain has caught a team-high 36 passes for 460 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 12.8 yards per reception. He also has been a key contributor to a UW ground attack that averages 239.3 rushing yards per game.
The Naperville, Illinois, native ranks ninth all-time at UW with 125 career receptions and, with 1,540 for his career, became the 14th player – and just the second tight end – in school history to record 1,500 receiving yards.
Fumagalli is the third UW tight end to be named a Mackey finalist, joining Travis Beckum (2007) and Lance Kendricks (2010).
Fumagalli previously was announced as a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to the nation’s outstanding player that began his career as a walk-on and will be presented Dec. 4.
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.
The Salem, New Jersey, native earlier this season matched the FBS record for fewest games needed to reach 1,000 yards, hitting the mark in his seventh career contest. He owns three 200-yard games and has topped the 150-yard mark five times.
Taylor has averaged 7.0 yards per carry on the season, something only 2014 Doak Walker winner Melvin Gordon has accomplished in UW history – doing so in 2013 (7.8 yards per carry) and 2014 (7.5).
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. The Lake Villa, Illinois, native 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.
His efforts have been key to a unit that ranks No. 2 nationally in scoring defense (13.1 points per game), total defense (246.4 yards per game) 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. The Butkus Award will be presented on campus the week of Dec. 5.
The Doak Walker Award will be presented during The Home Depot College Football Awards, Dec. 7 on ESPN, while the Mackey Award will be handed out during the Red Carpet Show that proceeds the awards ceremony, live on ESPNU.