WR Toon wants big finish to Badgers career
For Nick Toon, the dividing line seems pretty clear.
Before sitting out Wisconsin’s Oct. 15 game against Indiana
because of a left foot injury, he had 25 catches for 447 yards and
six touchdowns in five games. Since missing that game, he has 30
catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns in seven games.
Toon said his dip in production doesn’t have anything to do with
being slowed down by his foot, which feels better now than it has
in a year.
”It’s just been a function of the way the game has gone,” Toon
said. ”I can only control what I can control. My job is to go out
and catch the ball and help the team to do that.”
With the Badgers preparing to face Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Toon
hinted at some frustration but said team success is more
”As a receiver, you want the ball thrown to you on every down,
but it’s not the reality of football,” he said. ”We’ve been
having success offensively and we’ve been winning games – and
that’s what’s important. The team success is much more important
than my individual success. When we’re doing well as a team,
Badgers coach Bret Bielema said he’s expecting big things from
Toon in the last game of his college career.
”I give credit to him,” Bielema said. ”I thought this year
he’s really persevered through some things and battled. Nick’s a
big body and plays very big. Nick missed one game this year, right?
That probably was more my choice than his. I just wanted to make
sure he was there down the stretch. I think I would be very
surprised if Nick doesn’t play one of the best games of his
A big performance in the Rose Bowl certainly would help Toon
recapture the attention of NFL scouts.
”I need a big performance,” Toon said. ”I think, obviously,
any time you go out and perform well, it only helps you. I
definitely would agree with Coach B. I am looking forward to going
out there and playing one of my best games and finishing my
collegiate career on a high note.”
And yes, Toon has every intention of playing in the NFL, just
like his father, former Wisconsin and New York Jets receiver Al
”It’s definitely something that’s at the back of your head,”
Toon said. ”Obviously, I’ve had aspirations to play in the NFL
since I was a young kid. If things keep going the way they’re going
right now, that dream will come true. But I’ve got to take care of
business here and finish my career here at UW.”
Toon has been invited to the Senior Bowl, along with Badgers
quarterback Russell Wilson and offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler.
Toon and Wilson like the chance to keep working together.
”Obviously, it’s a great opportunity,” Toon said. ”I’ve got
my quarterback with me. He’ll be out there, so that’s a big plus.
It should be fun.”
Wilson said it’s ”pretty sweet” to be going to the Senior Bowl
”I’ve gotten the chance to get to know him and his family and
he’s one of the best receivers in the country, in my opinion,”
Wilson said. ”I think he’s got a lot of talent and a lot of things
going for him. He’s just got to keep working.”
For now, Wisconsin is working Toon back into practice slowly
after he hurt his shoulder in the Badgers’ Big Ten title game
victory over Michigan State. Toon said the shoulder injury is
”nothing serious,” but he still regrets having to come out of the
”It was really hard, but I just couldn’t go anymore,” Toon
said. ”It’s part of the game, but it’s healed up now and I’m
And Toon is thankful for one more shot at a Rose Bowl win after
the Badgers’ loss to TCU last season.
”You have to live with that loss until you get the opportunity
to play again,” Toon said. ”Obviously (losing) in the Rose Bowl,
it may hurt a little bit more, but we learned from it and played
well enough to get back to the game again. And hopefully we can go
out this time and take care of business.”
Freelancer Tammy Madsen contributed to this report from Madison,