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.
Up next, Bryson Williams.
Name: Bryson Williams
Position: defensive tackle
2020 eligibility: junior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 3-star, No. 67 defensive tackle, Lincoln, Neb.
2017 recruitment: Coming out of high school Bryson Williams was a highly touted recruit for the Badgers that they were able to snag right out of Nebraska’s backyard. In February 2017, Williams recruitment started off when he received a scholarship offer from Kansas State. Shortly after that Williams brought home a handful of offers from Ivy league schools including Princeton, Yale and Cornell. In June of 2017, Williams received an offer from Wisconsin and took an unoffical visit just three days later. On July 5th 2017, Williams committed to UW.
Months later Scott Frost was hired at Nebraska and made a late push for Williams in an attempt to keep the in-state talent in Lincoln, but he fell short as Williams signed with UW just a few weeks later.
Career statistics: 18 total tackles
2019 statistics: six total tackles
Player overview: As mentioned above, Bryson Williams was a very big name and get for the Badgers back in 2017. Many thought Williams would be a very promising defensive line recruit, something the Badgers don’t always have the luck to land. Even better, he was plucked right from the hands of Scott Frost’s backyard to Wisconsin.
Despite the early praising, Williams has had a bit of a struggle at Wisconsin over his first two seasons. In 2018 Williams was a true Freshman and was thrown to the wolves much too early, playing in 13 games over the course of the Badgers less than impressive 2018 campaign. While Williams may have played a little early, many thought it would be a good grooming for 2019. However, Williams suffered a knee injury just days before their trip to South Florida and missed most of the 2019 season with multiple set backs to the injury over the course of the season.
Best case scenario for 2020: With multiple injuries in 2019, Williams opened the door for standout nose tackle Keeanu Benton last season who thrived in the opportunity. Benton will surely be back as a huge part, but Bryson Williams will look to compete for that spot. Best case scenario is that Williams firstly gets completely healthy. We’ve seen flashes of what he can do, but working through injuries while trying to do it is not easy.
If Williams can come into preseason 100%, I would expect him to be worked into the rotation quite a bit. Benton and Williams have different skill sets, so it’s easy to see a way in which both of them see the field a lot. Having depth on the defensive line is not a bad thing for any program in America, and the Badgers will have plenty of depth AND talent if Williams can show what we all have seen at times in his early career.
Likely role on team in 2020: I would expect Bryson Williams to come into fall camp with a healthy body and clear focus at hand. Yes, there has been some struggle for him early in his career but there is no doubt the skills he has waiting to be used. Keeanu Benton will likely be the starter at the nose tackle position given his strong 2019 season, but Williams will likely be worked in often. Benton is more of a run stopper, and with Williams lighter frame he can be more of a pass rusher at that position.
Either way, both will hopefully see the field, and it isn’t the worst thing if Williams isn’t asked to do too much right away. While many have somewhat forgotten his abilities, I see Williams as a strong comeback candidate. If both him and Benton remain healthy, the Badgers could have a real two headed monster at the nose tackle position.