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Multiple Wisconsin Badgers make PFF’s returning Big Ten edge rusher ranking

Wisconsin linebackers/edge-rushers John Pius and Darryl Peterson received top-five rankings in ProFootballFocus’ recent list of the highest-graded returning Big Ten edge rushers.

Pius was No. 2 overall with a PFF grade of 85.1 last season at William & Mary. Peterson, meanwhile, was No. 5 with a grade of 80.7 with the Badgers Ohio State’s Jack Sawyer, Michigan’s Josiah Stewart and Maryland’s Donnell Brown were ranked No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

Pius was a significant piece of Wisconsin’s 2024 transfer portal class. The 6-foot-4, 244-pound edge departed William & Mary ranked second in program history in career tackles for loss (40.5) and fifth in career sacks (24.5).

The Arlington, Virginia native was also the only FCS player on the Butkus Award Watch List, earned an All-America First Team bid and wound up on the Senior Bowl Watch List. 247Sports had Pius as a four-star transfer recruit and the No. 16 edge rusher in the portal this winter.

Peterson, on the other hand, has suited up for UW from 2021-2023. Over the past two seasons, the Akron, Ohio product logged 13 starts in 26 overall appearances at OLB.

 

The 2023 Academic All-Big Ten team member led the Badgers with 4.5 sacks and posted a career-best 47 tackles for UW as a redshirt junior.

Wisconsin’s defensive unit enters 2024 with a preseason SP+ Rating of 13.8, the seventh-highest in the nation. With four new squads slated to join the conference this fall, UW’s defensive front will need to perform at a high clip.

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire