University Of Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly will miss the final game of his UW career.
UW head coach Paul Chryst said today that Connelly underwent a procedure for an injury he played through over the final four games of the regular season, which will keep him out of the Badgers’ bowl game on December 27. Chryst did not provide the specifics of Connelly’s injury.
Connelly could be selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Chryst said the senior’s absence from the Pinstripe Bowl was not due to protecting his professional future.
“That has nothing to do with it,” Chryst said. “It was just, could he go this game? And it was no. He was struggling. He said ‘I want to finish it out.’ Part of you says, ‘did you leave it all out there?’ And every game he played, he can answer with great confidence that he did. So you appreciated that a ton. And quite honestly, I’m excited that he’s now getting healthy.”
Junior Chris Orr, who has started 15 games in his career, is expected to take Connelly’s place along side T.J. Edwards against the Hurricanes.
Connelly recorded 89 tackles this season and was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award. He also earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the conference’s coaches.
Connelly and Edwards formed one of the best linebacking tandems in the country and were arguably UW’s best defensive players this season.
Leonhard said Connelly, a former walk-on, also grew from a leadership perspective this year as the Badgers fielded a number of inexperienced first-year starters on defense.