We're getting closer and closer to the start of fall camp, which means we have to continue our countdown of the top 25 players on the 2011 Wisconsin Badgers.
So far we have taken a look at No. 11-15, No. 16-20 and No. 21-25. And if you would like to see the entire top 25 sooner, you can pick up a copy of Badger Kickoff 2011 on newsstands across Wisconsin or order it online. The full rankings are already in the magazine but you will find that the rankings are slightly adjusted online because of the Russell Wilson transfer.
Once again, last year's rankings are in parentheses:
10. Mike Taylor - Junior linebacker (9)
Taylor had a pretty good season last year despite never getting to 100 percent. He toughed it out coming off an ACL tear in 2009 and was still good enough to be an All-Big Ten honorable mention. He should be much healthier this season and is poised to have a breakout season. By the way, if you're wondering how he dropped a spot in the rankings from last season, it's because of the amount of younger players that emerged last year. That's a good thing.
9. Jordan Kohout - Sophomore defensive tackle (21)
Talking to Patrick Butrym in Chicago last week, he made it clear that the team isn't expecting one player to replace J.J. Watt. They view it as a group challenge and Kohout might have the best combination of experience and pure talent on the line. Bret Bielema believes this is his best group of defensive tackles he's had at Wisconsin.
8. Aaron Henry - Senior safety (15)
Henry is relishing every second of being the senior leader on defense. He gave a lot of credit to last year's seniors for showing him the ropes and he's doing everything he can to extend that kind of leadership to this year's group. He also looks more like a safety and less like a cornerback. You don't have to go back too far to see Henry get lost in coverage (it happened on a touchdown in the Rose Bowl), but he's set up for an even better senior season and his voice in the locker room is his greatest contribution.
7. Ricky Wagner - Junior left tackle (NR)
The left tackle position at Wisconsin has become a badge of honor and Wagner inherits the position from Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi, who said Wagner would be the next Badger to win the distinguished award. That probably won't happen this season, but it is imperative for Wagner to step and be just as good as he was on the right side last season.
6. Peter Konz - Junior center (NR)
Football purists love Konz. More importantly, NFL scouts love Konz. If he was on any other team, he might be playing left tackle because of his athleticism. But the Badgers love his ability to pull from the center position -- a rare ability for most centers -- and it gives UW a unique look opposing defenses aren't used to seeing in the running game. Nationally, Wisconsin gets credit for good running backs and beefy offensive lineman who can block. While this praise is worthy, what almost never gets talked about is the level of athleticism on the offensive line and the creative stunts designed by Paul Chryst and Bob Bostad. Konz is the complete package.