Edwards solidifying young Badgers offensive line

David Edwards was thrown into the fire as a freshman last season, having to play 13 games with seven starts at right tackle.

He fared well — especially for someone who played quarterback in high school — and earned the job again in 2017.

Wisconsin’s offensive line is quite young. Edwards is a sophomore as is left guard Jon Dietzen. Center Tyler Biadasz is a redshirt freshman. Backups include redshirt freshmen Patrick Kasl and Cole Van Lanen,  both tackles, and sophomore guards Jason Erdmann and David Moorman.

But by at least one account, Edwards is shining above them all, including a pair of junior starters, left tackle Michael Deiter and right guard Beau Benzschawel.

It’s hard to measure the play of offensive linemen, but Pro Football Focus has a grading system and issues teams of the week and other statistics on its college football Twitter account. Now, PFF’s grades can be taken with a grain of salt (including from this writer), but they do provide some insight.

For example, in posts tweeted before the Northwestern game, Edwards was listed as Wisconsin’s highest-ranking offensive player — period — and one of the best pass blockers in the country.

After Wisconsin’s victory over the Wildcats, Edwards made PFF’s Big Ten offensive team of the week.

The right side of the Badgers’ offensive line — which is the blind side of left-handed quarterback Alex Hornibrook — appears to be in pretty good shape.

Here’s the complete rundown from the first four games of the season:

“TRUE” FRESHMEN
Adam Bay, LS
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

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Jack Coan, QB
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: 1 for 1 passing, 6 yards
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 1 for 1 passing, 6 yards

Madison Cone, CB
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Danny Davis, WR
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Started, 1 catch, 35 yards; 1 rush 1 yard
BYU: 2 catches, 67 yards
Northwestern: 3 catches, 50 yards, TD
Season totals: 6 catches, 152 yards, TD

Jonathan Taylor, RB
Utah State: 9 rushes, 87 yards, TD
Florida Atlantic: Started, 26 rushes, 223 yards, 3 TDs
BYU: Started, 18 rushes, 128 yards, TD
Northwestern: Started, 19 rushes, 80 yards, 2 TDs
Season totals: 72 rushes, 518 yards, 7 TDs

Have not played
Michael Balistreri, DE; Tyler Beach, OL; Logan Bruss, OL; Ethan Cesarz, ILB; Jake Collinsworth, ILB; Sam DeLany, WR; Alex Fenton, OL; Jake Ferguson, TE; Izayah Green-May, OLB; Matt Hennigsen, DE; Faion Hicks, CB; Hunter Johnson, RB; Collin Larsh, K; Kayden Lyles, OL; Tyler Mais, S; Scott Nelson, S; Emmet Perry, WR; Josh Seltzner, OL; Blake Smithback, OL; Danny Vanden Boom, QB; Aaron Vopal, OL; Coy Wanner, TE

Best of the Badgers

REDSHIRT FRESHMEN
Christian Bell, OLB
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo)
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: 1 tackle (solo), 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 FF
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 2 tackles (2 solo), sack, TFL, FF

Luke Benzschawel, TE
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Tyler Biadasz, C
Utah State: Started, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Started, did not record a statistic
BYU: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Started, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Noah Burks, OLB
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo), 1 QBH
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play

Eric Burrell, S
Utah State: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 2 tackles (1 solo)

Dontye Carriere-Williams, CB
Utah State: 5 tackles (2 solo)
Florida Atlantic: 1 tackle (solo), 1 PBU
BYU: 8 tackles (6 solo), INT
Northwestern: 3 tackles (3 solo)
Season totals: 17 tackles (12 solo), INT, PBU

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Seth Currens, S
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: 1 tackle
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1 tackle

Jack Dunn, WR
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play

Garrett Groshek, RB
Utah State: 2 rushes, 29 yards, TD; 1 tackle (solo)
Florida Atlantic: 5 rushes, 10 yards; 1 catch, 6 yards; 1 tackle
BYU: 9 carries, 43 yards; 1 tackle
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 16 rushes, 82 yards, TD; 1 catch, 6 yards; 3 tackles (1 solo)

Patrick Kasl, OL
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Isaiahh Loudermilk, DE
Utah State: 3 tackles (2 solo), 1 sack, 1 TFL
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Northwestern: 1 tackle, .5 sacks, .5 TFL
Season totals: 6 tackles (3 solo), 1.5 sacks, 1.5 TFL

Mike Maskalunas, ILB
Utah State: 1 tackle, 1 FR
Florida Atlantic: 1 tackle (solo)
BYU: 2 tackles (1 solo), 1 TFL
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 4 tackles (2 solo), TFL

Keldrick Preston, DE
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo), 1 QBH
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season stats: 1 tackle (solo), QBH

Kendrick Pryor, WR
Utah State: Did not play
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Cole Van Lanen, OL
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Caesar Williams, CB
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo)
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo)


Have not played
Josh Bernhagen, LS; Cade Green, WR; Deron Harrell, WR; Adam Krumholz, WR; Gabe Lloyd, TE; Kare Lyles, QB; Hegeman Tiedt, OLB; Cristian Volpentesta, CB

Injured, out for season
Sam Brodner, RB; Mason Stokke, ILB

 

“TRUE” SOPHOMORES
Quintez Cephus, WR
Utah State: Started; 3 catches, 31 yards, TD
Florida Atlantic: 2 catches, 47 yards
BYU: Started, 5 catches, 54 yards, 2 TDs
Northwestern: 4 catches, 99 yards; 1 rush, -3 yards
Season totals: 14 catches, 233 yards, 3 TDs; 1 rush, -3 yards

David Edwards, RT
Utah State: Started, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Started, did not record a statistic
BYU: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Started, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Patrick Johnson, S
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Did not play
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Anthony Lotti, P
Utah State: 3 punts, 129 yards (43.0 average)
Florida Atlantic: 5 punts, 191 yards (38.2 average)
BYU: 2 punts, 93 yards (46.5 average)
Northwestern: 6 punts, 245 yards (40.8 average)
Season totals: 16 punts, 658 yards (41.1 average)

Garrett Rand, DE
Utah State: 1 QBH
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: 1 PBU
Northwestern: 1 tackle
Season totals: 1 tackle, QBH, PBU

Bradrick Shaw, RB
Utah State: Started; 18 rushes, 84 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 10 yards
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: 4 carries, 19 yards
Northwestern: 9 rushes, 34 yards
Season totals: 31 rushes, 137 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 10 yards

A.J. Taylor, WR
Utah State: 3 catches, 38 yards; 2 kick returns, 46 yards
Florida Atlantic: 1 kick return, 21 yards
BYU: 3 catches, 34 yards, TD; 2 kick returns, 65 yards
Northwestern: 1 catch, 33 yards; 1 kick return, 18 yards
Season totals: 7 catches, 105 yards, 1 TD; 6 kick returns, 150 yards (25.0 average)

Have not played
Griffin Grady, ILB

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow, Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns