MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 15:  Tommy Armstrong Jr. #4 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers throws the ball against Michael Caputo #7 of the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 15, 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers Spring Football 2015 Preview: Secondary

If the last two games were any indication, you would have believed the Badgers didn’t have much in the way of a secondary. Wisconsin gave up 257 yards passing to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, while the UW defense also gave up 216 yards passing to Auburn in the Outback Bowl.

Still, Wisconsin’s pass defense was one of the best in the country and the best in the Big Ten by the numbers. They gave up just 168 yards a game passing, tops in the Big Ten and No. 4 in the country.

The good news is that Wisconsin gets all of the starters back from that group and are only going to get better given the players coming in to the program.

Previous Previews: Quarterback | Offensive Line | Running Back

Let’s take a look at where things stand for perhaps the most rock-solid position heading in to Wisconsin Badgers spring football.

 

Returning Starter(s): Darius Hillary, CB; Sojourn Shelton, CB; Michael Caputo, S; Lubern Figaro, S

Departing Players: Peniel Jean, S

Coming in to Program: Arrington Farrar, S/LB (4-star, Atlanta (Ga.) Woodward); Titus Booker, CB (3-star, Grayslake (Ill.) North); Serge Trezy (3-star, JUCO)

 

Biggest Storyline: Can Shelton get his mojo back?

It’s no secret that Sojourn Shelton was frustrated by his inability to make big plays and his overall play last season. Call it a sophomore slump or just simply the fact that he played out of his mind as a freshman. Whatever it was, Shelton needs to clean the slate and move forward this spring.

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 27:  Cornerback Sojourn Shelton #8 of the Wisconsin Badgers tackles receiver Deonte Welch #83 of South Florida Bulls on September 27, 2014 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 27: Cornerback Sojourn Shelton #8 of the Wisconsin Badgers tackles receiver Deonte Welch #83 of South Florida Bulls on September 27, 2014 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

Wisconsin needs him to be more of the playmaker he was in year one, as they struggled to get turnovers last season. The Badgers managed only six interceptions as a team last year, while Shelton had four interceptions himself during the 2013 season alone.

Last season we saw that a fully healthy Darius Hillary can be a solid corner and that Michael Caputo is one of the most versatile safeties in the Big Ten. It’s a good foundation, but there needs to be more given all the losses up front. This group needs to lead UW in 2015, and a key is how Shelton responds.

If Shelton can become more of the lockdown corner he was during his freshman season, Wisconsin’s secondary could be really dangerous. The talent is clearly there, but with a new coach for his position in place, it will be interesting to watch how his growth happens this spring.

Who Starts Against Alabama: Darius Hillary, CB; Lubern Figaro, S; Michael Caputo, S; Sojourn Shelton, CB

The starting lineup from last year may end up being the exact same this upcoming season, but there will be at least one spot to watch and that is the spot opposite Caputo at safety. Lubern Figaro started every game last season as a true freshman, but he saw less playing time as the season went on. With Serge Trezy coming in to the program and the likely move of Tanner McEvoy to safety, there could be a serious challenge to Figaro’s starting spot.

Outside of the play of Shelton, the starting safety spot opposite Caputo will be an interesting battle.

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

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