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 dive back into the trenches with left tackle Cole Van Lanen.
Name: Cole Van Lanen
Position: left tackle
2020 eligibility: redshirt senior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 4-star, No. 15 offensive tackle, Green Bay
2016 recruitment: One of the highest ranked prospects that the Badgers have landed under Paul Chryst, Cole Van Lanen was a four-star recruit out of Bay Port High School. The 6-foot-5 tackle was a heralded recruit that the Badgers were able to keep within the state over other offers from Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska.
After blocking in high school for Alec Ingold, Van Lanen was the highest rated signee in the 2016 class, and was selected to participate in the Army All-American Bowl.
Career statistics: 40 games played, 14 starts
2019 statistics: 13 games played, 13 starts
Player overview: After the typical redshirt season as a freshman, offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen has been a three year letter winner for the Badgers. A prototypical left tackle, he earned time on special teams and when games were out of hand for most of 2017 before playing as a jumbo tight end in the Big Ten Championship game. In 2018, Van Lanen was able to earn a greater role, rotating with Jon Dietzen at left tackle.
Last season — in his first year as a full-time starter — Van Lanen was one of the best offensive lineman on the team at his left tackle position despite playing through injury for a good chunk of time. A strong run blocker for the Badgers, his ability to not only play in space but also make an immediate push off the snap make him a huge asset to the team.
Best case scenario for 2020: After opting to forgo the NFL Draft and return to Wisconsin, Van Lanen will aim to be a steadying presence for Joe Rudolph’s offensive line next season which is losing David Moorman, Tyler Biadasz and Jason Erdmann.
Rated as one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the country heading into the 2020 season, if he lives up to the hype and anchors the left side of the Wisconsin offensive line at an elite level, Van Lanen could end up as a top three round pick in the NFL Draft.
Likely role on team in 2020: Van Lanen should hold onto his starting left tackle position next year. Now a redshirt senior, he will be called upon to be the unquestioned leader of the group. With some questions still present along the line, he will need to elevate his game another notch come this fall.