Wisconsin offensive lineman Dan Voltz has been forced to quit football because of his recurring injuries, UWBadgers.com’s Mike Lucas reported Tuesday.
Voltz, a redshirt senior, was Wisconsin’s most experienced offensive lineman entering the 2016 season. He was slated to play guard after lining up at center for his first three seasons with the Badgers, and entered fall camp ready to start after sitting out spring practices but returning for summer workouts. Voltz missed six games last season (including Wisconsin’s final five) after tearing the ACL and lateral meniscus in his right knee against Illinois on Oct. 24.
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst told reporters at practice Tuesday that Voltz will remain with the team in a coaching capacity. Redshirt sophomore Micah Kapoi is expected to get the first crack at filling Voltz’s reps at left guard, although redshirt freshman Jon Dietzen should also heavily factor into the rotation as well.
Voltz says the decision was made in the last few days. No one injury caused him to make the call, just a combination of them.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 23, 2016
Volta said he made his decision in the last few days. Went through summer training to play, but couldn’t get confidence in his body back.— John Veldhuis (@JohnVeldhuis) August 23, 2016
Voltz dealt with injuries for a lot of his career. Said quality of life after football was a factor in his decision too. #Badgers— John Veldhuis (@JohnVeldhuis) August 23, 2016
Voltz has 3 semesters left for his masters so he will still be with the team this season and next.— Jason Galloway (@Jason_Galloway) August 23, 2016
Voltz started 27 of the 32 games he appeared in over the course of his career at Wisconsin and entered the 2016 season on the Outland Trophy preseason watch list. A second-team All-Big Ten selection by the media as a sophomore in 2014, Voltz came to Wisconsin as a four-star recruit out of Barrington, Ill.
After Voltz went down late last season, Michael Deiter replaced him at center. Deiter, now a redshirt sophomore, is expected to start at center this season. At Monday’s practice (with left tackle Ryan Ramczyk held out due to a left leg injury), Wisconsin’s first-team offensive line was (left to right) Brett Connors, Kapoi, Deiter, Beau Benzschawel and Jacob Maxwell. Ramczyk, who sat out the 2015 season after transferring from UW-Stevens Point, is expected to start at left tackle once he’s healthy.
Wisconsin opens the season on Sept. 3 against No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field.
Update, 3:21 PM: Wisconsin has issued a press release confirming Voltz’s retirement. Quotes from Voltz are below, and video of his media session Tuesday is now embedded at the top of the article.
"It’s been a hard decision to make," Voltz said following Tuesday’s practice at Camp Randall Stadium. "Something I’ve dealt with pretty much my whole career is injuries. For physical reasons, (that’s) the main reason that it kind of forced me to start thinking about this."
"This program has really been a big part of my life for going on five years now, and is something I deeply care about. I’m going to remain a big part of the program. My role is just going to shift from playing to helping out in other ways. That made the transition a lot easier for me, especially letting the O-line know that I’m not going to fade away from that group. I’m going to be a big part of what they do."