Like their cornerbacks, the Wisconsin Badgers need to be in good arms with their safeties coming into the 2019 year. This placement group may possibly not be as deep on paper in comparison to Jim Leonhard’s corners, but there is expertise.
D’Cota Dixon and Evan Bondoc exhausted their eligibility pursuing their ultimate year at UW, but Wisconsin has at least 3 safeties with video game encounter from 2018. Accidents to Dixon and Scott Nelson may possibly have damage the protection total in conditions of obtaining several starters on the subject, but it also gave an option for Eric Burrell and Reggie Pearson to obtain some taking part in time as very well.
Throw in a Houston transfer and a pair many others, and this could come to be a a lot more-than-sound unit for the Wisconsin protection.
2018 statistical leaders
- Redshirt senior D’Cota Dixon: 43 tackles, 2.5 tackles for decline, 3 pass crack-ups in nine video games (all starts off)
- Redshirt sophomore Eric Burrell: 42 tackles, a person interception, two pass crack-ups, two pressured fumbles, 3 quarterback hurries in 13 video games
- Redshirt freshman Scott Nelson: 41 tackles, 3.5 tackles for decline, a person interception, six pass crack-ups, a person pressured fumble in nine video games
- Redshirt senior Evan Bondoc: Two interceptions in 13 video games
Expectation No. 1: Depth will shine with a lot more competitiveness
To be fair, 2018 was a yr of changeover at safety, even with Dixon back again mainly because of his injuries.
Even with the losses of Dixon and Bondoc, Wisconsin’s safeties acquired loads of video game motion because of to injuries that will likely bode very well for their enhancement. That need to enable ease the adjustment interval with Dixon, a person of the generals for the Badgers’ protection for the earlier 3 many years, now long gone. It need to also, like the cornerbacks, allow for for a lot more competitiveness for reps with obtaining that encounter on the subject for meaningful snaps. [insert Macho Man man “Cream Rises to the Top” gif here].
For the most part, Nelson confirmed flashes of what could be sustained potential in the defensive backfield down the road. He played in just nine of the 13 video games this year because of to personal injury with eight starts off. He however proceeded to history people 41 tackles, 3.5 for decline, together with grabbing a person interception and breaking up six passes. Additional about him in the upcoming expectation.
With Dixon damage, Eric Burrell assumed a commencing part in six video games but played in all 13. A major hitter in the secondary, he recorded 42 tackles, 3 quarterback hurries, two pressured fumbles and also picked off a Malik Rosier pass on Miami’s initial offensive participate in of the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl.
Then there’s also climbing second-yr player Reggie Pearson who stored his redshirt in 2018 after only taking part in in 4 video games. That bundled a start off in his residence point out towards Michigan and manufactured five tackles, a person for decline plus a pressured fumble in the decline towards the Wolverines in Oct.
It need to bear viewing how Houston transfer Collin Wilder figures into the mix in 2019, as he sat previous year because of to NCAA principles. There is also climbing redshirt junior Seth Currens who played in all 13 video games previous year as very well.
Heck, how incoming freshman Titus Toler fares at the time he gets to campus in the summer time and into tumble camp will be a little something B5Q appears to be like at at the time August hits. Flipping from Colorado, Toler turned a late addition to the 2019 class from California powerhouse St. John Bosco.
Owen Riese and I spoke about the depth in the secondary at both of those cornerback and safety on this week’s episode of Bucky’s 5th Podcast.
Expectation No. 2: Scott Nelson continuing his progression as a standout safety
You noticed the deal with for decline towards Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl, plus the interception early in the year towards New Mexico.
In my belief, there is a ball-hawking safety in the DNA of Nelson. We noticed it in tumble camp when he hauled in some interceptions. With the previous described six pass crack-ups, he has revealed the capacity to patrol the defensive backfield as very well. He has that capacity to make critical tackles, but the injuries robbed him of gaining a lot more footing in his initial yr as a starter.
If he stays nutritious, his third yr in Madison could be special. Like Burrell at moments in the open up subject, I felt like Nelson may possibly have skipped some tackles previous year that they both of those would like back again, and people two need to have that option during the 2019 year.
Another intangible will likely be the management of Nelson in guiding this placement group. For that make a difference, both of those Burrell and Nelson analyzed beneath the tutelage of Dixon, as I remember them staying back again with him after some tactics previous yr.
Now both of those have the capacity to carry on the custom of modern thriving Wisconsin safeties, a mantle that has been passed from Mike Caputo to Leo Musso to Natrell Jamerson to Dixon and now this upcoming established of Badgers.