Most Important Badgers No. 10: Vince Biegel
JUN 09, 2014 11:30a ET
Wisconsin Badgers beat writer Jesse Temple will be analyzing the 25 most important players to the Badgers' success in the 2014 season. Check back each weekday to see the latest player on the list. You can find every report here.
Note: This is not a list of the team's 25 best players or a series about past success, but rather which of them means the most to how Wisconsin will fare this year. Criteria such as depth at that player's position, general expectations and overall importance of that player having a good season are all highly considered. The list does not include incoming freshmen because their potential impact is unknown at this time.
No. 10 -- Vince Biegel, outside linebacker
Why he's No. 10
Most people know football runs in the Biegel family blood. Vince's father, Rocky, played linebacker at BYU. His uncle, T.D., played fullback at BYU and his grandfather, Ken, played linebacker and offensive guard many moons ago at UW-Eau Claire. In other words, Vince has been blessed with an athletic gift handed down over a couple of generations.
But that's not why Vince Biegel is ranked this high on our list of 25 most important Badgers players -- because good genetics and athleticism aren't enough to excel in college football. Biegel also possesses toughness, intelligence and a willingness to work his tail off to succeed at Wisconsin. And all those qualities have put him in position to take on a huge role as a starting outside linebacker in 2014.
Expectations for 2014
Biegel's first healthy season at Wisconsin last year went well, as he recorded 25 tackles with three tackles for a loss and two sacks. He played in all 13 games and made two starts. But with the Badgers re-tooling their front seven, his production should take a significant step up.
Wisconsin loses five of its top seven tacklers -- Chris Borland, Ethan Armstrong, Conor O'Neill, Dezmen Southward and Brendan Kelly -- and all but Southward were linebackers last season. That means there will be plenty of tackles to go around.
Biegel, for his part, recognizes the task falls on a group that still has to prove itself.
"It's going to be a young football team," Biegel said after the team's spring game in April. "We're going to have some bumps in the road. But I think coach (Dave) Aranda is an unbelievable defensive coordinator. He puts guys in the right spots, the right time. I think from the beginning of the spring to right now, guys have immensely improved from the d-line, from the linebackers. Yes, there's still work left to go. I think we're going to be trying to develop ourselves this offseason to be those playmakers this fall."
What would they do without him?
Jesse Hayes and Sherard Cadogan are the most likely backups for Biegel as the 2014 season approaches. Hayes' development has been good enough that coach Gary Andersen opted to move Leon Jacobs to inside linebacker, so it appears Hayes will fill out the two-deep behind Biegel.
"Jesse Hayes is going to have an opportunity to play," Andersen told reporters in March. "You look at our best guys, you sit back and you say where is Jesse? It's time for Jesse to step up and be the guy, or at least be given the opportunity to be the guy. He kind of earned that right. If Jesse takes advantage of that, that'll be a good thing.
"It gives Joe (Schobert) a chance to move to outside in some difference packages and Leon to stay inside. A lot of pieces to that puzzle. The biggest piece to that puzzle right now, is Jesse Hayes going to step up and hold down that spot there between him and Biegel? If we see that as an opportunity to have a good, solid two-deep, then Leon can go mature on the inside, which simply is the recipe that we think is the best players on the field at this point."
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