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T.J. Edwards returning for senior season for Badgers

Junior linebacker T.J. Edwards has decided to return to UW after stellar personal and team season in 2017.

Wisconsin’s banner 2017 season was led by its defense, and no player was more nationally recognized this offseason than junior linebacker T.J. Edwards.

It led many to speculate that he could join others on this team in leaving for the NFL a year early. However, that won’t happen, as Edwards announced his decision to return for his senior season on Tuesday morning.

Wisconsin finished this season with a school record 13 wins and had an overall record of 13-1. Yet, there certainly felt like there was more to accomplish, as the Badgers went in to the Big Ten championship game ranked No. 4 in the country and with a berth in the College Football Playoff on the line.

Instead, they lost to Ohio State and lost out on a chance at a national championship.

Edwards and the Badgers didn’t let that loss affect them though, winning the Orange Bowl over Miami (FL) for back-to-back wins in a New Year’s Six bowl game.

As for his individual season, Edwards racked up 81 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, four interceptions, and seven pass breakups. Those numbers helped him earn the runner-up for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s best linebacker. He also earned 1st team All-American and 1st team All-Big Ten honors.

His return gives the Badgers some of the best depth at inside linebacker in the country, as there are at least three legitimate starters back in Edwards, Chris Orr and Ryan Connelly.

With the Badgers losing seven starters already due to graduation and Nick Nelson’s decision to leave early for the NFL, getting Edwards back is a huge help to steadying the roster in 2018.

UW still is waiting on word from left tackle Michael Dieter. But, the Badgers will be lucky enough to see both right guard Beau Benzschawel and right tackle David Edwards returning after evaluations from the NFL in the offseason.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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