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Wisconsin Football Starting Linebacker Named to Three Award Watch Lists

The Wisconsin football program has a boatload of players on award watch lists, but one has been recognized more than others.



Wisconsin Football linebacker Maema Njongmeta
Illinois running back Chase Brown (2) is stopped short fo the goal line by Wisconsin linebacker Maema Njongmeta (55) during the first quarter of their game Saturday, October 1, 2022 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.

The Wisconsin football program’s 2023 season is quickly approaching.

UW has a boatload of players on award watch lists before the season kicks off. However, one player has stood out.

Maema Njongmeta has been named to his third watch list. This time, it’s for the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the player “who best embodies the values and spirit of the NFL’s legendary coach Vince Lombardi.”

Wisconsin Football LB Maema Njongmeta Named to Third Award Watch List

Maema Njongmeta was also named to the Butkus Award watch list, given to the nation’s best linebacker, and the Bronco Nagurski Trophy watch list for the college football’s best defensive player. 

The redshirt senior is coming off a productive 2022 season, and expectations are rising. Last year, Njongmeta notched a team-high 95 tackles with 12.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, and an interception. His productive year would land him a Third-Team All-Big Ten nomination.

As one of Wisconsin’s top returning contributors, Njongmeta has some lofty expectations under Mike Tressel’s new defensive scheme. However, the redshirt senior is still rehabbing from a surgery he underwent during fall camp. Njongmeta should be available for UW’s opener vs. Buffalo, but he’ll be wearing a club over his hand for the time being. 

With the recognition Njongmeta has received during the preseason, he’ll be a player to keep a close eye on as Wisconsin’s 2023 season kicks off. If he can build off his strong showing in 2022, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Njongmeta as one of UW’s statistical leaders yet again.

We are just a few weeks out from the season opener, folks. Before you know it, Wisconsin football will be back on your tv.

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Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.