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Wisconsin Badgers news, 7/16: J.J. Watt, Sojourn Shelton, Jordan Taylor, more

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Also, Ian Boyd has a great preview of the opener vs. LSU over on SB Nation.

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Football

Wisconsin fans were graced by the presence of J.J. Watt for largely two seasons, and the potential some saw during the 2010-11 season has lived up to the hype during Watt's NFL career thus far. ESPN.com's Field Yates had Watt at No. 1 on ESPN.com's list of top defensive matchup nightmares, and had some remarkable words about Watt's ability and future in the league (Insider).

"...Watt is [Calvin] Johnson's nightmarish counterpart on defense. The 25-year-old has no holes in his game. He can win with power, explosiveness, speed or quickness, employing a considerable arsenal of pass-rushing moves and techniques to blow by the offensive line."

Watt's former defensive line teammate, Pat Muldoon (he was a redshirt freshman during Watt's final season), has been named a graduate assistant with Florida Atlantic's Charlie Partridge's squad. ... Staying with the defensive line, current Badgers defensive lineman Billy Hirschfeld has an urge to play in the state's all-star game, despite three of his current teammates backing out of the game.

If this holds true, fans may be dancing in the streets: College Football 24/7 picked Melvin Gordon to lead the Big Ten in rushing yards and Sojourn Shelton in interceptions (h/t Fox Sports Wisconsin's Dave Heller). They threw out a ballpark number of 1,800 yards for Gordon.

The game is almost here, so let's get a breakdown of it. Ian Boyd looks at Wisconsin's first matchup of the 2014 season -- against LSU at Reliant Stadium.

Basketball

There was a lot of talk about Sam Dekker's play at the LeBron James Skills Academy via Twitter, but we finally have it in writing from someone that was there -- ESPN.com's Jay Bilas details Dekker's dominance at the academy (Insider). The swingman's maturation since he first stepped on campus has yielded a significant improvement in his game over the offseason.

The Badgers made their 2014 Final Four run on the back of Frank Kaminsky, but can he play the same role throughout next season? ESPN.com John Gasaway definitely thinks so (Insider).

Coming off a seven-minute, zero-point performance in the Milwaukee Bucks' 87-71 loss to the Utah Jazz, Jordan Taylor is trying to identify his own strengths and weaknesses in order to find his role with the team. He also rekindled a rivalry with former Michigan guard Trey Burke on Monday.

Have you ever wanted to meet head coach Bo Ryan? Well, now you can. In an effort to support the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation, you can bid on the experience to meet Ryan, watch practice and get two VIP tickets to a game at the Kohl Center.

Quick hitter

Men's soccer coach John Trask added 11 new recruits to his 2014 squad on Tuesday, highlighted by Missouri-area player Tom Barlow and Illinois-area player Mike Catalano, who were named the Gatorade Player of the Year in their respective states.