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,

everybody’s happy.”

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

with Toon.

”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

moving forward.”

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,