Nebraska recruit not a fan of Wisconsin, where things stand for Badgers at RB and the best Wisconsin draft picks
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Today is Wednesday, April 26, and this is what’s for breakfast.
Such hate, this young one has
Matt Sichterman has a beef with Wisconsin — one he doesn’t appear to be letting go of any time soon.
As the 2017 Nebraska signee tells Christopher Heady here at Land of 10 that he grew up a big fan of the Badgers, living in the state until moving to Ohio in seventh grade. But even after leaving, the 3-star offensive lineman still loved Wisconsin and wanted to play in Madison.
According to Sichterman, a Wisconsin coach messaged him when he was a sophomore and said that if he got to 265 pounds, they’d offer him a scholarship. Well, that’s exactly what he did, adding 30 pounds to his frame in the next year. Yet, no offer ever came from the Badgers.
Sichterman eventually decided on the Huskers among several other Power 5 schools, and it seems like a good fit. But his distaste for Wisconsin remains, and he couldn’t sound any more salty about it.
“But trust him when he says his Wisconsin past is now gone. He has an ongoing feud with other guys in the 2017 class on who hates the Badgers most (he insists he takes the cake).
‘I can’t wait to play them,’ Sichterman says. ‘We’ll whip ’em.'”
There’s plenty to unpack here, including whether the coach that messaged him was still actually at Wisconsin the following year. Sichterman’s sophomore year was 2014-15, which overlaps with the Badgers’ coaching change from Gary Andersen to Paul Chryst — which also resulted in all but one assistant going elsewhere. Andersen moved on to Oregon State, which, shockingly enough, did offer Sichterman a scholarship.
Either way, though, he feels offended by something Wisconsin did, whether it was the previous staff or the current one. He wanted to come back to Madison, and the Badgers apparently didn’t want him. Now he holds a grudge. This isn’t new by any stretch. Heck, Wisconsin has benefited from Ohio kids that don’t get an Ohio State offer. They end up coming to play for the Badgers and have a ton of motivation going against the Buckeyes when they play them. Maybe Nebraska will get the same thing out of this.
But the fact Nebraska recruits are talking about how much they dislike Wisconsin — an ongoing feud among the Huskers signees, as Heady calls it — is comical. It speaks to how one-sided this alleged rivalry is. You can’t just add a trophy to a game, play every year and suddenly become rivals. At least you can’t if you’re on Wisconsin’s side of things. Chryst said as much before the game last season. The Badgers and their recruits don’t think about Nebraska — and certainly don’t have the hate for them in the way Sichterman does for Wisconsin.
He’ll get his chance to, as he said, “whip ’em,” every year he’s in Lincoln. But as Nebraska has found out five of the six times it has faced Wisconsin since joining the Big Ten, whipping the Badgers is much easier to talk about than to actually accomplish.
Where things stand: Running back
Wisconsin finished spring practice last week, so we’re going through each position to see where things stand heading into the summer.
What happened: As expected, sophomore Bradrick Shaw and junior Chris James saw a majority of the reps with the first-team offense. Both had their moments, though James, a transfer from Pittsburgh, was the flashier of the two.
With junior Taiwan Deal missing the spring as he recovered from offseason surgery, redshirt freshman Sam Brodner and converted QB Garrett Groshek got a ton of work, as well. Brodner suffered what appeared to be a leg injury in the spring game.
Biggest takeaway: No drop-off in production
Despite losing more than 1,800 yards rushing when Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale exhausted their eligibility after last season, Wisconsin shouldn’t see any drop-off in production from its running game. Shaw and James are more than capable of stepping in and providing similar stats — and potentially being more explosive.
“I really just try to be the playmaker,” James said after Wisconsin’s spring game. “When I get the ball in my hands, I want the defense to know, I want the coaches to know that if someone doesn’t make the play and tackle me, that’s 6.”
Biggest question: Who’s the No. 3 tailback?
Shaw and James are both going to see the field a ton, though the latter might get more time on third down. But what about behind them? Shaw had nearly 400 yards as the No. 3 back last year, and Wisconsin would like to find someone to spell him and James.
That likely will fall to Deal, who, when healthy, has provided a little bit of a spark (667 rushing yards his first two seasons). It’s also possible that incoming freshman Jonathan Taylor could push for time when he arrives on campus.
Best Wisconsin draft picks of all time
The 2017 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday in Philadelphia, and it appears that as many as six former Badgers could be selected over the seven rounds.
Here’s a look back at the best draft picks in Wisconsin history, based on where they were taken and what they accomplished in their careers. Note: Players listed in chronological order of draft year.
Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch (1945, first-round pick)
Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch was a dynamic talent at Wisconsin and proved to be just as much of one in the NFL after getting drafted No. 5 overall in the 1945 NFL Draft by the then-Cleveland Rams. Though he didn’t make his debut with them until 1949 — Hirsch served in the U.S. Marine Corps and played professionally in the All-America Football Conference in the in-between years — Hirsch ended up catching 53 touchdowns in nine seasons in an era when the NFL was a run-first league. For his efforts, he was the first Wisconsin player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Mike Webster (1974, fifth-round pick)
Mike Webster was the rock of a Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line that helped the team win four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s. A fifth-round pick, Webster appeared in nine Pro Bowls and was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Tim Krumrie (1983, 10th-round pick)
Tim Krumrie dropped to the 10th round of the 1983 draft, where the Cincinnati Bengals grabbed him. Before sustaining four breaks to his lower left leg in Super Bowl XXIII in 1989, he was a monster along the defensive line. A first-team All-Pro in 1988, Krumrie went to two Pro Bowls and finished his career with 34.5 sacks.
Troy Vincent (1992, first-round pick)
An All-American at Wisconsin during one of the worst stretches of football in program history, Troy Vincent was the seventh overall pick in the 1992 draft and went on to play in five Pro Bowls in a 15-year career.
Mark Tauscher (2000, seventh-round pick)
A former walk-on, Mark Tauscher went from seventh-round pick to a nearly 10-year starter for the Green Bay Packers. Though never a Pro Bowl selection, Tauscher started 126 games in his career, one of the better late-round values of any NFL pick in history.
Joe Thomas (2007, first-round pick)
The third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Joe Thomas has been nothing short of extraordinary while playing with a Cleveland franchise that has won more than seven games just once in his career. Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 seasons and is on his way to becoming the third Wisconsin player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
J.J. Watt (2011, first-round pick)
In just six years, including one in which he played just three games, J.J. Watt has become the best defensive player in the NFL. He is one of only two players in NFL history to be named Defensive Player of the Year three times, and he finished second in the voting for the 2015 Most Valuable Player award.
On the cusp: Russell Wilson (3rd-round pick, 2012) and Travis Frederick (1st-round pick, 2013)
- From Madison.com: The Wisconsin women’s basketball team picked up a commitment in the Class of 2018.
- At the Wisconsin State Journal, Jason Galloway writes that T.J. Watt’s stock is rising as the draft approaches.
- ESPN’s NFL Nation writers held their mock draft on Tuesday night and a pair of Badgers landed in the first round.