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Most important Badgers for 2019, No. 3: Scott Nelson

The young safety is going to need to make an impact on defense this year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 22 Wisconsin at Iowa Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

To continue our summer of football preview content at Bucky’s 5th Quarter, we are counting down Wisconsin’s Top 10 Most Important Players for the 2019 football season. These aren’t necessarily the “best” players on Wisconsin’s team, although you will find many of those listed, but they have been deemed the most important to Wisconsin’s success this year by our motley crew of writers.

There was much debate via email over who should be on the list and it even resulted in Drew going to Owen’s house and ding dong ditching him. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and now we have our final list to present to you.

Here is No. 3 on that list: safety Scott Nelson

2018 stats: 8 games played, 41 tackles (22 solo), 3.5 TFL, 1 interception, 6 pass breakups

2018 year in review: Scott Nelson burst onto the scene against Western Kentucky, flying all over the place against the Hilltoppers, making a positive impression on the Badger faithful that they had their next star free safety for the next three seasons in place. While he was certainly everywhere, it bordered on reckless and out of control at times, which led to some missed tackles and over-pursuits.

Nelson fought nagging injuries for a lot of the season, which certainly limited some of his effectiveness. He also made some plays that displayed his football savvy, in particular a play where he made contact with a receiver on the sidelines, but instead of becoming a human torpedo and knocking him into next week, he slowed up and broke up the pass by being in the way.

New Mexico v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

2019 year in preview: Nelson will be a pivotal piece of a very talented secondary moving into the next few years. His size and range on the back end has major potential and he’ll likely be a pro prospect in the years to come.

I expect Nelson to solidify himself as the starting free safety this season and, barring any injuries, he could contend for an All-Big Ten spot. He’s athletic, aggressive and smart. He does need to reel in his over-zealousness at times, and clean up some tackling maladies, but no doubt about it...Nelson is a big-time player in waiting.