November 13, 2009

Several seniors say goodbye to Camp Randall

MADISON - For 18 Wisconsin players, Saturday's game against Michigan will be their last in Camp Randall. It has surely been a productive class as they have been part of 35 wins since 2006 and counting.

Today, takes a look at all the seniors set to partake in their final Camp Randall experience as a player.

The starters:

Tight End- Garrett Graham:

-Graham has been and currently is a major contributor to the Badger offense. His size, speed and athleticism separate him as one of the leagues premier offensive weapons. He is sure-handed and has become a better blocker over his time on campus

On the season, the senior tight end ranks third on the team with 30 receptions and second on the team with 390 receiving yards.

"It kind of feels like a normal week, just a normal everyday week," Graham said. "It will probably hit me once it comes closer to the game and when you run out of the tunnel for the last time."

Free Safety- Chris Maragos:

-From transfer walk on to scholarship player, it has been quite the journey for Maragos throughout his career as a Badger. Always a man of hard work and devout faith, Maragos has been able to accomplish a number of things throughout his career including 15 starts and counting and team high four interceptions in 2009. He also ranks fifth on the team with 38 tackles, including one sack and three tackles-for-loss.

Weak side Linebacker- Jaevery McFadden:

McFadden is one of the few remaining fifth year seniors on the UW squad that was recruited by former head coach Barry Alvarez. He has endured position switches that saw him move from will linebacker to mike linebacker during his junior year and then back to will for his senior season.

In 2009, his 56 tackles lead the team. He has five tackles-for-loss and one sack as well. He has become a better player in coverage and a leader of a defense that is playing at a high level through nine games this season.

Defensive End - O'Brien Schofield:

Schofield is one of the more remarkable stories on the Badger roster. He was originally brought into the program as a linebacker but was moved to defensive line after it was obvious he wouldn't get much playing time at that position. Then, through the heartbreak of losing his brother and other soul searching, Schofield dedicated himself to becoming a better player and person and it has shown on the field.

Through nine games, he is the nations leader in tackles-for-loss and ranks highly among Big Ten players in the sack department with 7.5 of them.

"This fifth year senior class is a little bit unusual from the standpoint when these guys came in, I was on staff, but I didn't know and they didn't know, that I was going to be the head coach," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "And so they were brought in with the idea of playing for Coach Alvarez.

"And the guys that have survived and made it through have been unbelievable. The guys that fall into that category are Garrett and OB (as well as fellow contributors Dustin Sherer, Dan Cascone, William Hartmann, Richard Kirtley, Prince Moody and Jeff Stehle), because both of them are fifth year redshirt seniors that have battled all the way through this thing, and I can't say enough great things about them."

Tight end: Mickey Turner:

Turner is one of the more unheralded players on the team. He doesn't receive many passes or clog up the stat book with impressive lines, but he makes an impact on every play he is in with his ability to block. Without a traditional fullback on the team, Turner has really done a great job of coming out of the backfield and blocking for the running backs.

Key Reserves:

Quarterback - Dustin Sherer:

Though he hasn't played a down in any game this season, Sherer has played an instrumental role in the rise of Scott Tolzien this season. Sherer, who started six games last season, never once publicly criticized anyone or turned sour when he lost the starting spot in fall camp. He simply rolled with it and has become a valuable asset for several players on the team.

"I remember I came in for the spring game when I was still in high school," Tolzien said. "He pulled me over there and right off the bat he was already explaining plays to me. That says a lot about someone. We're obviously playing the same position and we're obviously going to be competing, but for him to go out of his way like that, it really taught me something. We're in this together, it's the ultimate team sport.

"Although we're the same position and fighting for the same spot, it's team first. The goal is to win on Saturday's. Dustin has just been a huge part of our success this season."

Defensive tackle - Daniel Moore:

Moore came to Wisconsin during the spring of 2008 after finally getting a scholarship offer from Wisconsin. He left junior college behind because he wanted to play Big Ten football and now that dream has come true.

This season, he plays an integral role in an eight-man rotation on the defensive line and has been able to record 17 tackles, 2.5 TFL's and two sacks.

Defensive Tackle - Jeff Stehle:

Stehle is another fifth-year senior that has been in the program for many years. He was a reserve throughout most of his career, but finally cracked the starting lineup this season in the opening game against Northern Illinois. In each of the past two seasons, Stehle saw action in all but one game.

On the season, the New York native has recorded 12 tackles and one sack for Wisconsin.

Defensive Tackle - Dan Cascone:

Early in his career, Cascone went through some struggles that had Bielema questioning his work ethic. But to Cascone's credit, he buckled down and transformed his body and became more dedicated to helping the program succeed. And that caught the eye of his head coach.

"I think two years ago, maybe it might have been three years ago, he just didn't put forth the effort that I thought he would need for him to come here and be a football player," Bielema said. "He's changed his body, he changed his attitude, and he hasn't played as much on the field, but he's been great in the classroom and he's been a great chemistry guy."

Wide Receiver - Elijah Theus:

Theus earned his first letter as a Badger in 2008 and scored his first career touchdown when he hauled in a pass against Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl. Before that, he recorded his first career catch in UW's loss to Michigan to start the Big Ten slate.

Linebacker - Erik Prather:

Prather is not currently listed on the roster, but you still see him around Badger facilities during practice and game day. It was an unfortunate turn of events for Prather when he suffered a devastating and severe knee injury during spring ball. That has kept him out the entire fall and prematurely ended his Badger career.

Defensive Back - Prince Moody:

Moody has not been a major contributor throughout his career, but he has played a role in special teams play. He regularly sees action on the punt unit and kickoff coverage. In 2009, he has tallied four tackles in six games played.

Wide Receiver/Special Teams - Richard Kirtley:

Kirtley has not seen action this season, but he did receive a scholarship from Bielema prior to the start of the season, making him one of four former walk-ons to receive a scholarship.

That made all the struggles he went through early in his career with a sever ACL injury well worth the struggle.

"I was thinking about everything that I went through from applying to school here and (going) through injuries here," Kirtley said in fall camp." Just all the trials and tribulations I've been through, for coach Bielema to give me a scholarship, it just made everything worth it."

Long Snapper - Drew Woodward:

Woodward probably plays one of the least glamorized positions in all of sports. When he does his job right, it goes unnoticed, but as soon as something goes wrong, all eyes are on the snapper. So far, though, that has not been a problem for the senior who has snapped in each of the games this season.

Wide Receiver/Special Teams: Nate Emanuel: (No picture in database)

Emanuel, like Hartmann, does not receive much action in offensive sets, but he does have a history on special teams. This season, Bielema offered him a scholarship after joining the team as a walk-on in 2005.

"I think you have to have the mentality that you're going to outwork everybody," Emanuel said during fall camp. "Because they might be a little bit more athletically gifted than you, you have to never let down. By doing that, the coaches will see it and they'll appreciate it."

This year, Emanuel has one tackle in one game played.

Defensive Back/Special Teams: William Hartmann: (No picture in databse)

It seems like with every kickoff he covers there is a great chance Hartmann will be in on the tackle. He's a player that is willing to contribute in any way he can. Growing up in Sheboygan (WI), Hartmann was always a big Badger fan and eventually chose to walk-on to the program. Then, before his final year, Bielema awarded him a scholarship.

"It was just a great honor," Hartmann said prior to the season. "I thank coach Bielema for doing it. I graduate in December so it's a semester paid for. It's just unbelievable to have all my hard work and effort on the field and off pay off."

So far this season, Hartmann has eight tackles in nine games.

Defensive Back - Tyler Holland: (No picture in database)

Holland has been a productive back up throughout his career. He has earned a letter in each of his three previous seasons as a Badger and has been named scout team player of the week on two separate occasions. Last season, he logged a career-high two tackles at Indiana.

This year, he has played in four games and recorded a tackle. Against Fresno State, he returned one kickoff for 13 yards. Prior to the season, he was also awarded a scholarship from his head coach.

"Quite honestly, there's been a long list of walk-ons that we've had," Holland said before the season. "If you look at Jimmy Leonhard, Luke Swan, Josh Neal from last year, I mean, we've got tons of guys that love playing the game and want to work hard and be a part of something special. And that's what it's all about."

Defensive Tackle - Jordan Hein: (No picture in database)

From wrestler to football player, it has been quite the transition for Hein. This season, in a reserve role, the senior has recorded one tackle in five games played.

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