Itâ€™s watch list season across college football and at Wisconsin there is no bigger award than the Outland Trophy. Thatâ€™s the award for the best interior lineman in the country and the one that former Badgers Joe Thomas and Gabe Carimi have won in the past.
This year, the Badgers have put right tackle Rob Havenstein on the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy. Havenstein has been a huge part of UWâ€™s success on the offensive side of the ball and was aÂ second-team All-Big Ten selection by the leagueâ€™s media last season.
He is Wisconsinâ€™s most experienced returner for 2014. The Mount Airy, Maryland, native has played in all 40 games over his first three seasons and started all 27 of UWâ€™s games over the past two years.
Semifinalists for the award will be named on Nov. 20, with three finalists later selected from among the players named to the Football Writers Association of Americaâ€™s All-America teams. The winner will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 11.
Itâ€™s not too surprising to see no other Badger among the 64 players named to the preseason watch list though, given that the Badgers are replacing all but one starter on the defensive front seven and have a lot of injury-prone players to worry about on the offensive line.
However, it was a bit surprising to see left tackle Tyler Marz left off the list, given he has played in 22 career games and started in 12 of the Badgers games last season. He was one of the most consistent lineman UW had in 2013 and comes in as a third-team preseason pick by Phil Steele this season.