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Wisconsin football: random news and notes from the past week

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Jack Sanborn is receiving some preseason hype and the freshman are moving into the dorms.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - Oregon v Wisconsin Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

We’ve rounded up some news and notes from the past week that may have slipped through the cracks of your internet content consumption. No need to thank us, just doing our job.

  • With the graduation of Chris Orr and Zack Baun, the linebacking corps for the Wisconsin Badgers is going to look pretty different this season. One constant, however, is the presence of last season’s leading tackler Jack Sanborn. Due to his impressive season last year, Sanborn was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy preseason watch list.

According to their website, “The Lott IMPACT Trophy honors college football’s best in character and performance.” There are a bunch of other B1G players on the watch list including Penn State LB Micah Parsons, Purdue DE George Karlaftis, Northwestern LB Paddy Fisher and Nebraska CB Dicaprio Bootle. Wisconsin has had one previous winner of the Lott IMPACT trophy, J.J. Watt in 2010.

  • Now that we are well in June, preseason preview magazines are slowly starting to come out and, as such, preseason All-America and All-B1G teams are being released as well. The Badgers were well represented on the B1G first team with OT Cole Van Lanen, LB Jack Sanborn, S Eric Burrell and PR Jack Dunn all being pegged to be the best in the conference at their position. Former Badger KR Aron Cruickshank, who is now at Rutgers, made the second team.

Athlon Sports also has the Badgers predicted to finish No. 12 in the country, noting:

With four trips to the Big Ten Championship Game over the last six years, it should be no surprise Wisconsin is Athlon’s pick to win the West Division in 2020. Few question marks surround this team, but coach Paul Chryst’s squad has a couple to address on offense. Who will fill the void left behind by Jonathan Taylor at running back? The Badgers may not lean on one option, instead choosing to rotate Nakia Watson, Garrett Groshek, Isaac Guerendo and freshmen Julius Davis and Jalen Berger in the backfield. Quarterback Jack Coan was steady (69.6 completion percentage) and didn’t make a lot of mistakes (five picks), but redshirt freshman Graham Mertz has more upside at the position. Can Mertz make a push for the starting job in the fall? Replacing go-to wide receiver Quintez Cephus is another priority, and the offensive line features a rebuilt interior with three new starters. Wisconsin’s defense held teams to 16.9 points a game in 2019 and ranks again among the best in the Big Ten. Coordinator Jim Leonhard’s group brings back nine starters, with linebackers Chris Orr and Zack Baun (24 combined sacks in 2019) leaving big shoes to fill at the position. The non-conference slate includes a home game against Appalachian State and a neutral-site meeting versus Notre Dame in Green Bay. Minnesota and Nebraska come to Madison, but the Badgers hit the road for key conference matchups versus Michigan and Iowa.

  • The freshman arrived on campus last weekend and moved into the dorms. I don’t know which dorm the football players live in these days, but I know that their room looks better than the old Ogg Hall. Congratulations Max Lofy and Jalen Berger for having a much nicer room than I did as a freshman.

Troy Vincent, Wisconsin-Defensive Back-1991 First Team All-American and runner-up for the 1991 Thorpe Award…Two-time All-Big Ten selection and 1991 Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Year…Finished career as Wisconsin’s leader in punt return yards (773) and passes defended (31).