Wisconsin football finally gets it's start as they open up fall training camp with the first practice of the season later today. We've broken down all the positions and the main players, but it seems like more often than not there are a few players that really spark interest and move up the depth chart. So, with that in mind we give you our "Under-the-Radar" Players to Watch.
Both Nate Woelfel and Andy Coppens give you five players each will be keeping an eye on that have a chance to be major players by the time camp concludes.
Nate's Five Players to Watch:
Vince Biegel (Fr, LB)- This may seem far-fetched considering how notable returning starters Mike Taylor and Chris Borland are, however, a good camp could put the Wisconsin native in position to be a backup during his freshman campaign. Regardless, the development of Biegel will be a key part of the future of the linebacker corps.
Kyle Costigan (So, G)- There is no doubt that, coming into the season, there are some question marks on the right side of the offensive line. As of now, it appears as though the right guard duties will fall upon the shoulders of walk-on Robert Burge who is capable, but not proven. After appearing in three games on the defensive line a year ago, Costigan jumps sides in hopes of giving the Badgers a little depth. If he is called upon, he will need to be ready.
Tyler Marz (Fr, T)- More uncertainty on the right side of the offensive line could lead to another opportunity for an underclassmen to step in. There is no doubt that current right tackle Rob Havenstein has loads of potential. Havenstein appeared in 13 games a season ago and made one start, but offseason shoulder surgery caused him to miss out on spring ball. If health becomes an issue, Marz could be more than a serviceable replacement. The redshirt freshman has proven that he is willing to work; he was named the 2011 scout team player of the year.
Michael Trotter (So, S)- The secondary took its fair share of heat a season ago and it will undoubtedly be an area of emphasis in fall camp. Trotter doesn't factor into the starting equation at the moment, he quietly picked up some game experience last season when he appeared in 12 games. Continued improvement should mean continued playing time.
Chase Hammond (So, WR)- When it comes to the offense, most of the attention is focused upon Heisman hopeful Montee Ball and transfer Danny O’Brian. There is no doubt that the Badgers will continue to pound the rock with the running game, but depth will still be needed at wide receiver. Hammond is coming off a redshirt season and could work his way into being a third or fourth receiver.
Andy's Five Players to Watch:
Dan Voltz (Fr., OL) - By all indications Voltz is being groomed behind Frederick at Center and may stay there, but if Burge and/or Costigan can't be consistent enough and with Voltz being in the system since January you have to believe they would consider moving him to Right Guard for this season. Bielema already indicated he'd put the five best players on the field regardless of "position" so it's not too far fetched to think it could happen.
Kenzel Doe (So, WR) - This one could be a little bit of cheating, but no one is talking about his potential contributions on the special teams units this season. While he is likely a back up to Jared Abbrederis as a punt returner he could be a big factor in the kick return game. Plus, he's the fastest wide receiver we have and that could mean a role as a slot wide receiver. His lack of height makes him a prime candidate to be a factor when looking to pass the ball around the line of scrimmage and he could be the wrinkle in the offense that wasn't there with Chryst. Watching for that out of new OC Matt Canada is worth watching in camp.
Derek Watt (So, LB) - Let's face it, he's not completely under-the-radar, especially since his last name is Watt and he plays at Wisconsin. However, he wasn't talked about much in our previews and the coaches love his talent. It will be interesting to see if Watt can land a spot on the two-deep with the likes of A.J. Fenton, Derek Landisch, and Marcus Trotter all battling him hard.
Vince Biegel (Fr., LB) - There hasn't been this highly touted a linebacker coming into Wisconsin in my lifetime, yet almost no one thinks he's going to win a starting spot. Sure, he's got an uphill battle facing off with a few experienced upper-classmen but that doesn't mean that he couldn't win it either. He probably has the most talent of all the linebackers vying for that outside spot next to Taylor and Borland and if he can get the defense down enough in camp I fully expect him to see some major playing time as the season goes on.
Brock DeCicco (Jr, TE) - We all know just how good Jacob Pedersen is and his role should increase even more with the lack of a consistent WR outside of Abbrederis, but what about the other tight end spot. The one guy hardly anyone seems to be talking about is transfer Brock DeCicco. He's got the size (6'5", 246lbs.) and he's also been around the program for a season as he sat out last year as part of his transfer in from Pitt. A strong showing in fall camp should see him earn plenty of playing time this season.
Make Sure you check back as we give you the best coverage of Badgers camp anywhere on the net. It all starts tomorrow with Badgers Power Hour - featuring special guest Kevin of Collegefootballzealots.com as we preview the Big Ten and Badgers from an outsiders perspective.