MADISON -- The Wisconsin Badgers have a long history of recruiting within families and finding success by bringing lines of siblings into the program. Most recently, the Hemer brothers (Ethan and Ben) and the Watts (J.J., Derek and T.J.) came to Madison with a sibling.
Another interesting family duo that was brought into the program are the Trotters. Very rarely do you see twins play on the same team, but this year's Wisconsin defense features a set of identical twins -- Michael and Marcus from Racine (Marquette), Wisconsin.
Marcus is the older of the brothers by a minute. They know they are unique because they have a twin and get to play Division I football alongside each other, though it's proven difficult to get a finger on what exactly it's like to have a twin.
"I've always had a twin. It's cool because I am always with him," Michael said. "He's my best friend. Half the time, others think I am him, so I just go along with it. It's something that not many people get to experience.
"We do everything together," Marcus added. "We go to the library together, we go to meetings together, anything we do we always do it together. It's always been like that."
Both Trotters made news in the offseason when Marcus took over a starting inside linebacker spot and Michael also moved to inside linebacker from safety. The redshirt seniors relish the opportunities they are in and look forward to the time when they can get on the field together.
With Michael making the transition to linebacker this season, the brothers have become even closer. Along with living together throughout their college careers, they now share a film room, which they had never done before. The twins haven't played the same position since middle school.
"The last time we played side-by-side was eighth grade in Racine, so its cool to see [Michael] and the way he progressed." Marcus said. "[When he switched], he would always ask me for help, so it made me better and more intelligent because if you can teach someone something, that means you really know it.
"When I was told of it at first, I was like, ‘This is random.' I actually had a nightmare about it," Michael added. "I like it a lot. I get to go in on third downs. It's a lot of fun. Hopefully you can see us both out there at the same time."
Michael said the learning curve of moving from safety to linebacker was a difficult one at first. He studied over 20 new coverage packages before the spring game, but now laughs at the situation and how challenging it was at first.
"You could see me on film asking Marcus, ‘What am I doing? Help me.'"
Michael said that although the twins butted heads in high school, they now have a great working relationship together. They are best friends on and off the field, so taking constructive criticism hasn't been hard with the switch.
After the spring game, Michael -- who had played 30 games at safety in his career, recording 26 tackles -- used the offseason and summer to hit the weight room and put on extra muscle to play his new position.
"This is the first time I could let my body grow," Michael said. "When I was at safety, I was always cutting weight. Now we are at the same weight where everyone thinks that I am Marcus and everyone thinks he's Michael. Even people on the team who know us are like, ‘What's up, Marcus?'"
Being identical twins does have its challenges, but they're nothing new for the duo. The Trotters have always faced the issue of people confusing one with the other. Michael said it used to be about 40 percent of the time they were mistaken for one another, but with the newly added weight it's now about 80 percent. One regret they do have is not taking advantage of their similar resemblance more.
"That's what I regret," Michael said. "I don't want to say we were ever good kids, but we never messed around with people."
Both had stories about how they have had to show friends their IDs to prove they where not the other brother. While it can be frustrating for the pair to be confused, at the end of the day they see it as a compliment.
"At the end of the day, I'm one of the Trotters. That's all that matters," Michael said. "We never really switched around on people much. We should have. You don't even know, I might be Marcus now."
Their parents enjoy the close commute from their home in Racine to watch their sons play on Saturdays. Going to the same school didn't always seem so clear, but for the brothers, going to different schools was never really an option.
"Michael and I both wanted to go to the same school," Marcus said. "Michael was blessed enough to get a scholarship here and I didn't. I always knew deep down in my heart I didn't want to spilt with Michael. If that meant that I had to prove myself here, then I was more than willing to do that."
Marcus only received a scholarship offer from Wofford out of high school, but he chose to come to Madison and follow his brother. He has since received the scholarship he vowed to work for.
The two may part ways eventually, with Michael heading of to work at KPMG in Minneapolis upon graduation. Marcus is currently applying to medical schools, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his parents and sister.
"He's the outcast of the family," Marcus said in reference to Michael being a business major. "It's going to be weird if he's not here [after graduation]. I love being around him. He's fun, he's cool and he's the other half of me."