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Natrell Jamerson talks weight room gains; Leon Jacobs ‘feels natural’ at OLB

These two Badgers are welcoming heavy expectations for UW’s defense in 2017.

Jake Kocorowski

MADISON—Senior Wisconsin Badgers free safety Natrell Jamerson showcased his strength on social media last week in a lift that opened many eyes.

In the video posted on Instagram, Jamerson bench pressed a personal-record 405 pounds. Not too shabby for a 6’0, 198-pound defensive back.

“Summer program was good,” Jamerson said at UW’s media day on Friday, almost as an understatement. “Coach Ross [Kolodziej] and all of the strength coaches do a great job getting us ready, warmed up and all that. So going into the max day, I knew that was my goal to get 405, so that was good.”

They gone wake up this year I promise... that's 405lbs if y'all can't count @bleacherreport

A post shared by Natrell Jamerson (@sirnrj) on

That wasn’t the only impressive number he put up. The bench press works out the chest muscles, so what about squats and his lower body?

Well, Jamerson squatted 555 pounds. Five. Hundred. Fifty. Five. Pounds.

“We always take something serious either in the weight room or on the field during conditioning,” Jamerson said. “So any opportunity that we got to get better as a team, we took full advantage of it.

“And it showed. A lot of people did a lot of great things this summer.”

Jamerson is now in his third position in four years at Wisconsin after coming to Madison as a wide receiver and then moving to cornerback. The fall’s 15 practices will serve as a springboard for the enthusiastic Ocala, Fla., native.

“I’m excited and ready to get going because I know in the spring there’s only a limited amount of time you can get,” Jamerson said. “In fall camp, I’m trying to taking advantage of every time I got.”

When asked about his “new” free safety, head coach Paul Chryst appeared quite ready to see the senior’s progress starting on Saturday.

“I think Trell’s one of those guys that he makes you feel confident,” Chryst said. “He went through it in the spring, and boy, he’s had a tremendous summer, and I’m excited to see his growth and development.”

Leon Jacobs’ solid summer and potential for fall

After four seasons of bumping around positions on both sides of the ball, redshirt senior Leon Jacobs returned to outside linebacker in the spring.

That transition appears to have gone very smoothly heading into fall camp.

“Very comfortable,” Jacobs said. “It feels natural.”

Jacobs admitted he saw the possible writing on the wall to bump back outside to position coach Tim Tibesar’s group during Wisconsin’s 11–3 season in 2016.

“Last season when we were playing,” Jacobs said, “I kind of knew that if T.J. [Watt] left, I would be playing outside, so I was preparing myself for that too.”

Jacobs admitted he looks to Tibesar, fellow redshirt outside linebacker Garret Dooley and Watt for advice. He even texted Watt a couple of months regarding who or what to base his “get off” on.

Along with returning back to the position he started his collegiate career at, Jacobs also excelled in summer conditioning to provide further momentum heading into fall camp.

His 6’2, 245-pound physique stood out among other players at media day. Along with boasting veins popping out of both biceps, he also acknowledged he squatted 655 pounds.

“He’s a freak in the weight room, but I think everyone knows that by now,” fellow redshirt senior outside linebacker Garret Dooley said.

There is potential for Jacobs to break out this season, and that sentiment is backed up by the coaching staff. Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard told ESPN Madison in June that he was excited to see the Santa Clarita, Calif., native.

Chryst believes Jacobs is capable of having “a really good year.”

“Can he be what ‘Mus’ [free safety Leo Musso] was last year? I think right now that that could be—where ‘Mus’ played a lot and was active—but last year Leo became that starter and had a tremendous year,” Chryst said. “I think Leon’s one of those, I think Trell’s capable of that—I think there are a couple of guys. I really do. I think guys are talking for the right reason about Leon. I think he’s got a chance in some ways to be different for us.”

When told of Chryst’s comments, Jacobs thought of them as “a great honor.”

“As of right now, my goal is to take it one day at a time,” Jacobs said. “Obviously, Leo was a big presence for us last year, and to replicate what he did would be great.”