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 return to the defensive line with nose tackle Keeanu Benton.
Name: Keeanu Benton
Position: nose tackle
2020 eligibility: sophomore
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 3-star, No. 85 defensive tackle, Janesville
2019 recruitment: After a nice junior year at Janesville Craig on the gridiron and the wrestling mat, Keeanu Benton earned a surprise offer by the Wisconsin coaching staff in late April. The 6-foot-4 prospect opted to stay home and play for the Badgers over offers from Iowa and Western Illinois a few weeks later.
Career statistics: 13 games played, 12 tackles, four tackles for a loss, two sacks
2019 statistics: 13 games played, 12 tackles, four tackles for a loss, two sacks
Player overview: Joining the team last summer as one of three true freshman defensive lineman from the 2019 class, Benton was the lowest ranked player in the group. That didn’t stop him from making the biggest splash of any freshman on the entire team though, playing in 13 games and starting six with Bryson Williams battling injuries.
The 300 pound standout was stout against the run in his first season, and also showed an ability to disrupt plays in the backfield using his strength and quickness. Now entering his true sophomore season, Benton has some of the highest upside of any player on the roster given his physical traits and the early experience he gained last year.
Best case scenario for 2020: Bryson Williams is able to come back healthy in 2020, and Benton helps form the most talented and deep group that Wisconsin has had along the defensive line.
Benton plays and starts in the majority of games and further demonstrates an ability to create chaos in offensive backfields. After recording four tackles for loss and two sacks as a true freshman, it is not out of the question for him to double those outputs and gets closer to 10 tackles for a loss and five sacks if he makes a nice leap.
Likely role on team in 2020: The Badgers are in a really nice spot along the defensive line in 2020 with at least two talented options at nose tackle with starting experience. Benton should continue to be a pivotal part of the defensive line rotation, and his development could really take off after another year in the program to work on his strength, quickness, and ability to use his hands.