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Vince Biegel

Corey Clement and Vince Biegel helped themselves during Senior Bowl week, Ethan Happ delivers for Wisconsin and more

Zach Heilprin

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Today is Monday, Jan. 30, and this is your Wisconsin Wake-Up Call.


Solid week

Corey Clement and Vince Biegel wore their motion ‘W’ helmets for the final time on Saturday during the Senior Bowl, the culmination of a week’s worth of work in front of NFL scouts. It was the last actual football the two will play before the draft in April, with the next three months dedicated to becoming as fast and strong as possible for the NFL combine and their Pro Day.

For Clement, it was a rather disappointing day, carrying the ball just three times for 26 yards after getting dinged up on his first touch of the game.

Still, he had a seemingly solid week that helped him in the eyes of scouts.

As for Biegel, he finished with five tackles and a forced fumble. The performance led to him being among the highest graded players on defense for the North.

The latest rankings from CBSSports.com, updated the day before the Senior Bowl, has Clement as the No. 12 running back, with a draft range between the fourth and fifth rounds, while Biegel comes in at No. 11 among outside linebackers, with a similar draft position as Clement.

A lot will be determined in the next three months, but Clement and Biegel appear to have helped themselves with their week in Alabama.

Happ carries Wisconsin

It doesn’t really make sense. Ethan Happ can’t shoot outside of five feet, doesn’t live above the rim and won’t outmuscle most of the big guys in college basketball. And yet, somehow, the Wisconsin sophomore can’t be stopped. At least not recently.

On Saturday, with the other two members of the Badgers “Big 3” largely missing in action, Happ put the team on his back, scoring a career-high 32 points in a 61-54 overtime win against Rutgers.

Consider the numbers. Wisconsin made just 20 shots on the day, and Happ had 12 of them. He scored more than half the Badgers points, while also assisting on three more of the baskets.

If that wasn’t enough, the Milan, Ill., product continued to be a force on the defensive end, where he racked up four steals and two blocked shots. The effort against Rutgers came a week after he scored a then career-high 28 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out six assists in an overtime win at Minnesota.

What Happ is doing is Big Ten Player of the Year-type of things. He leads Wisconsin in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocks and field-goal percentage, while also dishing out the second-most assists.

It’s not that Happ is perfect. He continues to struggle at the free-throw line, hitting at just above a 50-percent clip, and he does lead Wisconsin in turnovers per game.

Still, Happ’s game is unique. He’s the kind of player where you notice him and see him make plays but can’t really figure out how. And then all of a sudden you look up and he’s got a double-double or, like Saturday, 32 points, including the game-tying shot with two seconds left to get the game to overtime.

Those that saw Happ play in high school will tell you that what he’s doing now is exactly what he did there. But many never thought it would work at a Power 5 school, especially not in the Big Ten. And it’s why, even though he did commit very early, that the only other schools to offer him scholarships were UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay.

But there is something behind his success. He works hard, spending plenty of time after practice working on his free-throw shooting, and as a freshman, when he redshirted, doing dribbling drills for 20 or 30 minutes after practice. It’s tough to outwork Happ.

Coming into this season, most would have said that Wisconsin was senior Nigel Hayes’ team. As he went, they did. At points this year it’s looked like senior Bronson Koenig’s team. But while those two are vital to what the Badgers want to accomplish the rest of the year, it’s rapidly becoming clear that this will be Happ’s team soon — if it isn’t already.

New Badgers

National Signing Day is Wednesday, and we’ve been going through Wisconsin’s class of 2017 to give you a better clue of who will be suiting up for the Badgers in the next few years. That concludes with a look at offensive lineman Alex Fenton and long snapper Adam Bay.

Who: Alex Fenton
What: 6-foot-5, 280-pound guard
From: Menomonie, Wis.
247 ranking: 3 stars, No. 56 tight end in the country

Quick look: A two-way player, Fenton saw time at defensive tackle, left tackle, right guard and right tackle after playing tight end at the beginning of the season and for most of his career. A first-team All-State pick by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association, Fenton is expected to play guard for the Badgers.

2017 impact: A likely redshirt candidate, Fenton joins a crowded room with a lot of young and talented linemen.

Who: Adam Bay
What: 6-foot, 210-pound long snapper
From: Mesa, Ariz.
247 ranking: 2 stars, No. 4 long snapper in the country

Quick look: Originally committed to Missouri, Bay chose the Badgers over scholarship offers from the Tigers and three other mid-level programs.

2017 impact: Wisconsin loses long snapper Connor Udelhoven, and the kid they brought in as a possible replacement last year — Jacob Caesar — left the program in October. Udelhoven’s backup was junior tight end Zander Neuville, but Bay should have a chance to compete for the job.

A success … at least for Wisconsin

Wisconsin took part in the second Super Saturday event put on by the Big Ten at Madison Square Garden, with the Badgers facing Rutgers in basketball and Ohio State in hockey. It was a successful trip for Wisconsin on both stages, getting an overtime victory in each, and providing the two teams some memories that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

The crowds for both were OK, with a little more than 8,000 showing up for the basketball game and about 5,000 for the hockey game. Obviously, the Big Ten would prefer that more people show up as they attempt to widen its geographic foot print, but for Wisconsin, it proved to be a win-win.

Both matchups were “road games,” so neither lost a home game. And with so many alumni from the East Coast, it gave them a chance to see their teams. To get a sweep made it even sweeter.

Catching up

  • Big Ten teams, including Wisconsin, recruited Texas hard this cycle, and that should continue.
  • Former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon didn’t play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, so he had time to find a fellow alum on the sideline.
  • Over at UWBadgers.com, Andy Baggot gave his five takeaways from the Wisconsin hockey team’s Friday-Saturday sweep of No. 8 Ohio State.