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Wisconsin OL Michael Deiter to return for fifth year

The Badgers are now returning their entire 2017 starting offensive line.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Redshirt lineman Michael Deiter, a key member of the Wisconsin Badgers’ offensive line, is set to return for his final year in Madison.

Wisconsin’s official Twitter account sent out two tweets on Wednesday afternoon, the first with the message, “Gonna be good to have all five of these guys back next season...” and the the second announcing Deiter as a “2018 Way-Too-Early Piesman Trophy Watch List” candidate.

A UW official later confirmed Detier’s return to B5Q.

Deiter has started all 41 games in his Wisconsin career at center, left guard, or left tackle. This past season, he started all 14 games at left tackle with redshirt freshman Tyler Biadasz emerging at center. The redshirt junior earned second-team All-America honors from Sporting News and consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors.

All five of Wisconsin’s starters from 2017 are now returning—Deiter, left guard Jon Dietzen, Biadasz, right guard Beau Benzschawel, and right tackle David Edwards. Deiter, Benzschawel, and Edwards all earned some form of All-America recognition, with Biadasz also claiming Freshman All-America status from both USA Today and the Football Writers Association of America.

Back in 2015, offensive line was a seemingly depleted position group for the Badgers with several combinations utilized. Now, offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph and the coaching staff will boast a two-deep of game-ready players. That gives Rudolph the ability to find his best five linemen and the ability to maximize the best combination of players for an offense returning 10 of 11 starters overall.

It should bear watching during spring practices where Deiter finds himself on the line, whether he stays at left tackle or slides back inside. At left guard, there is Dietzen and walk-on Jason Erdmann, who played in all 14 games as a redshirt sophomore. At center is Biadasz, who established himself well in his first year starting.

The tackle spots will be the most intriguing on the line to watch heading into the season, especially if redshirt freshmen Cole Van Lanen and Patrick Kasl continue to develop. Van Lanen spelled Deiter during the Northwestern game and also worked in as an extra lineman in a jumbo-type package with jersey No. 85. Kasl admirably filled in for Edwards during Wisconsin’s 34–24 win against Miami after the latter left the game with a left leg injury.

Edwards worked at left tackle last spring as well, so there are options at both spots for Rudolph and head coach Paul Chryst.

Benzschawel has locked down right guard (30 of 36 career starts) with would-be redshirt senior Micah Kapoi behind him on in the two-deep.