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Wisconsin football 2020 returnee profile: Maema Njongmeta

After barely knowing the game of football five years ago, Njongmenta appears to be a promising inside linebacker for UW.

Wisconsin v Illinois Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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 take a look at Maema Njongmeta.

Name: Maema Njongmeta

Position: inside linebacker

2020 eligibility: redshirt freshman

Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 3-star, No. 33 outside linebacker, Lincolnshire, Ill.

2019 recruitment: Former Wisconsin linebacker Guy Boliaux is the defensive coordinator at Longshire Stevenson High School where Njongmeta played his high school ball. Njongmeta worked heavily with Boliaux to develop his game, and in turn Njongmenta developed into a player that suited Wisconsin’s defensive style of play. He took an unofficial visit to UW and committed after receiving his scholarship offer.

Career statistics: redshirted in 2019, no games played

2019 statistics: redshirted in 2019, no games played

Player overview: For years Maema Njongmeta has been best described as a raw talent. When he arrived at UW, Njongmeta had hardly played any football compared to most kids. Njongmeta came to the U.S. from Cameroon as a child, and knew little of the game. It appears after a high school career and a redshirt year at UW that Njongmenta has picked up the game rather quickly as he know finds himself as a player in the two deep for Wisconsin at inside linebacker.

As a player Njongmeta is very strong and moves side to side very well. In his high school tape you can see that he takes on blockers, but can shed and get by them after engaging. He also isn’t afraid to flat out hit. If he can learn and continue to develop behind star inside linebacker Jack Sanborn, Njongmeta could be the next big thing at that inside spot when he gets his turn.

Best case scenario for 2020: The best case scenario for Njongmeta is that he comes into camp and impresses to earn a spot in the two deep at inside linebacker. Right now those spots appear to be heavily in the favor of Leo Chenal, and of course Sanborn. Still though, the Badgers will need depth at that position this year and next and Njongmeta could be a valuable piece to have in the rotation.

Likely role on team in 2020: With Sanborn and Chenal both starting in the inside spots, I would expect Njongmeta to not see a lot of time barring injury. The middle linebacker spots are very physical positions though, and the Badgers will need a solid third option to rely on. Mike Maskalunas has played a good amount of football and is back as a senior, but I would expect Njongmeta to be a guy that can compete for the number three inside linebacker spot. Having four middles that can get the job done would be a good problem to have. If Njongmeta can play some and develop over the course of the season he could be a guy that takes on a bigger role in 2021, especially if Sanborn tests the draft waters after his upcoming junior season.