Greatest Wisconsin Badgers of All-Time: No. 27 Jamar Fletcher

No. 27 — Jamar Fletcher, Football

On defense, one could consider the secondary one area that UW hasn’t really struggled with since the arrival of Barry Alavrez. Since 1990, 11 defensive backs have been named firs team All-Big Ten from the University of Wisconsin football program. Those 11 players have represented 18 different times for a Badger defensive back to be on a first team All-Big Ten list.

However, just one of those 11 players made it on the list three times during his career. Of course, that name is Jamar Fletcher. He was named to the first team in 1998, 1999 and 2000, but the honors weren’t done there. Fletcher was also a two-time first team All-American selection in 1999 and 2000 and swept national and conference awards in 2000.

Fletcher was named the 2000 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, became the only Badger to win the Thorpe Award and also went on to win the Jack Tatum Trophy as well. Why though?

That 2000 season was one of the more magical efforts from any cornerback in UW history. Fletcher finished the season with his third straight year of seven interceptions (with all three ranking tied for third in single season INT records), had the most INT return yardage in history of UW football (179), had the second best passes defensed mark in school history at the time (21, which was only bested by teammate Mike Echols that same season) and his 87-yard INT return for a touchdown against Indiana that season is the fourth longest in Badger football history.

He ended his career on a high note, with UW winning back-to-back Rose Bowls and having a ton of records with his name next to them. Chief amongst them is he is the career leader in interceptions (21 — tied with Jim Leonhard after he set it). Also on the list is highest interception return total for a season (179 in 2000) and most interceptions returned for a touchdown (3 in 1998).

While the top of the list is only occupied by Fletcher in a few categories, he currently stands the test of time as he ranks second in passes defensed (57) and third in pass breakups (36).

Even crazier is the fact that most of the three seasons he spent at UW all rank inside the top 10 in just about every category that matters to a cornerback. All three years are in the top 10 of single season records for interceptions, passes defensed and two of his three seasons (2000 and 1998) rank inside the top 10 of pass breakups as well.

Fletcher went on to be a 1st round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2001, but lasted just three years with the Dolphins and bounced around the league until his career ended in 2009 with the Cincinnati Bengals.

While that wasn’t what most expected after Fletcher’s stellar career at UW, we’re not here to judge on the aftermath of his athletic and academic career at Wisconsin. There’s little doubt that Fletcher is in the conversation for the greatest cornerback, let alone defensive back to play at Wisconsin.

Full 50 Greatest Badgers List:

No. 50Randy Jablonic
No. 49Alex Rigsby
No. 48Michael Lihrman
No. 47Howard “Cub” Buck
No. 46Don Davey
No. 45Pat O’Dea
No. 44Curtis Joseph
No. 43Dean Anderson
No. 42Ivy Martin
No. 41Ron Vander Kelen
No. 40Carly Piper
No. 39J.J. Watt
No. 38Joe Pavelski
No. 37Barb Franke
No. 36Dick Cable
No. 35Sam Dekker
No. 34Jolene Anderson
No. 33Paul Gruber
No. 32Mark Johnson
No. 31Chris Borland
No. 30Lisa Boyd
No. 29Lee Evans
No. 28Tony Granato

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com