During the summer doldrums of sports news, many college football fans are starved for news and information regarding their favorite teams.
With that in mind, we at B5Q have decided to take a more detailed look at each walk-on contributor and scholarship player on the Wisconsin Badgers football roster for 2020 in a running feature, our 2020 returnee profiles.
Each weekday we will breakdown one player on the football roster to look back at their recruiting process, their career as a Badger to this juncture and lastly preview their potential contribution to the team in 2020 and beyond.
Today, we talk Scott Nelson.
Name: Scott Nelson
2020 eligibility: redshirt junior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 Composite 3-star, No. 60 safety, Detroit, Mich.
2017 Recruitment: Nelson was one of three defensive backs that the Badgers took in the 2017 recruiting class and he was rated as a 3-star by all of the recruiting services. He held offers from Iowa, Boston College, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Pitt, among others. The Hawkeyes and the Wolverines appeared to be the biggest competition for the Badgers, but Nelson ended up in Madison, helping Wisconsin start to develop a bit of a pipeline in Michigan.
Career statistics: 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble, eight pass breakups
2019 statistics: Four tackles, one pass breakup
Player overview: A rangy and athletic safety, Nelson got injured in the third quarter of Wisconsin’s season opening game in 2019 against the USF Bulls. Nelson has a nose for the football, as evidenced by his two turnovers and eight pass breakups in limited career action, and isn’t afraid of contact either.
Best case scenario for 2020: In any “best case scenario” for Nelson in 2020, health has to be at the top of the list. If Nelson can come back 100% healthy, he’ll already be off to a better start than last year. As far as statistically? There is now a very deep and talented group of safeties on the Wisconsin roster so Nelson isn’t guaranteed to get his starting spot back without a fight.
If Nelson can come back healthy and get 50-60 tackles, a couple of picks, six or seven passes defended and one fumble recovery I think that would be judged as a rip-roaring success.
Likely role on team in 2020: With the Badgers now featuring multiple safeties that have playing experience (Madison Cone, Eric Burrell, Collin Wilder, Reggie Pearson) Nelson will need to work his way back into the rotation. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard has been known to play three safeties at the same time and with Nelson’s ability to play in the box and support the run, he would be a nice option to replace a linebacker in passing situations.