Three weeks ago, I voted Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland a second-team All-American on my Associated Press ballot. Saturday, after listening to South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott rave about Borland, I wished I had voted him first team.
While breaking down film of the Badgers in preparation for the Capital One Bowl, Elliott has developed a coach crush on Borland, Wisconsin’s 5-foot-11, 246-pound linebacker who was named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year after notching 102 tackles this season.
“Relentless pressure. He can run forever. He’s a tenacious defensive player. I think he’s the best linebacker I have seen on tape this year, hands down, there is no question,” Elliott said. “He runs so hard. He plays so hard. He loves the game of football. It’s very easy to see why he’s a good football player. I’d love to coach a guy like that.”
Elliott is so enamored with Borland that he plans to find him after the bowl game to express his admiration.
“It takes a special player (for me to do that),” Elliott said. “I’m a big effort guy so when I see a guy that plays with unbelievable effort, I really want to go find them. There are not a lot of guys out there and they really stand out on tape. I can’t say enough about him.”
Borland, whose goal this season was to be named a first-team All-American by the AP, made the second team. My bad Chris.