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Wisconsin football: three Badgers make Phil Steele's preseason All-American teams

Phil Steele has three Wisconsin Badgers on his preseason All-American teams.

Each year Phil Steele releases his college football magazine, which is one of the top national college publications in circulation.

In addition to making preseason projections about how each team will finish the year and providing an overview of each roster heading into the season, Steele also releases his national preseason All-Americans.

The Wisconsin Badgers usually have multiple representatives, and this year is no different.

For the 2022 season, three players from the current roster made the cut.

  • Nick Herbig: first-team selection
  • Keeanu Benton: fourth-team selection
  • Braelon Allen: fourth-team selection

For Herbig, he enters his junior year as one of the top outside linebackers in the country. The Hawaii native was notably on the Lott Impact Trophy watch list, and he is coming off of an impressive sophomore campaign.

Herbig led the Badgers with nine sacks a season ago and finished third on the team in tackles with 64. An incredibly disruptive pass rusher, Herbig enters 2022 as a multi-year starter and hoping to improve on his total of 14.5 tackles for loss last year.

In addition to Herbig, nose tackle Keeanu Benton also earned recognition by Steele. Like Herbig, Benton is a multi-year starter, and is one of the top interior defensive linemen in the Big Ten. His role is not conducive to producing eye-popping stats within the defense, but he is a big reason why the Badgers finished as the No. 1 run defense in the country a year ago.

Benton opted to return for his senior year and is now one of the top-10 defensive line prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, according to ESPN. For his career, Benton has tallied 45 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks in three years along the d-line.

Running back Braelon Allen also made Steele's annual list as a fourth-team pick.

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Allen quickly emerged as one of the top running backs in all of college football last season despite not playing much in the first few games. The bruising tailback flashed promise in fall camp but became a dominant runner for the Badgers as the 2022 season wore on.

Only a sophomore, Allen is coming off a freshmen season in which he ran for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging nearly seven yards per carry. In Wisconsin's run-heavy offense, Allen is expected to surpass those total in year two if he can remain healthy, and he is on the shortlist of Heisman Trophy betting favorites at this time.

In addition to these individual honors for Herbig, Benton, and Allen, the Wisconsin Badgers are projected by Steele to win the Big Ten West.

Wisconsin narrowly missed a Big Ten West title a year ago after falling to Minnesota on the final week of the regular season but represented the West division four times since 2014, the most of any team.

More individual and team acknowledgments are sure to come for Badgers leading up to the season opener against Illinois State, but making the All-American team is an incredible honor for all three included by Steele.

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