Wisconsin is getting T.J. Edwards back for one more season.
The Badgers’ linebacker announced Tuesday that he’s returning to Madison for his senior year, eschewing a chance to leave early for the 2018 NFL Draft.
— T.J. Edwards (@TJEdwards8) January 2, 2018
Edwards will return as a main piece of Wisconsin’s defense. The Butkus award finalist was second on Wisconsin in tackles in 2017 with 81, and had 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions and 7 pass break-ups. It’s been a long journey for Edwards, who was a 2-star QB recruit that once vowed to quit football.
Edwards said he realized during his junior season that he might have an opportunity to play major college football. He noticed that he could make throws and be physical with the best opponents on his team’s schedule. Edwards assumed he would garner college interest to continue his career as a quarterback.
But on his first recruiting visit to Toledo, he remembers coaches talking to him about playing slot receiver. At that point, he thought he might be a better fit on defense. Edwards committed to play linebacker at Western Michigan in June 2013. Six months later, he flipped to Wisconsin to play the same position.
When college recruiters would ask Mertens what position Edwards projected out to in college, he shied away from pigeon-holing him. Instead, he told coaches Edwards could play any position they needed him to play. All along, however, he believed linebacker was Edwards’ most natural position.
“He has a nasty streak in him,” Mertens said. “Watching him hand the ball off and then run 15 yards down the field and make a block for his running back, that’s stuff you don’t see on normal high school quarterback film.”