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.
Next up, Aaron Vopal.
Name: Aaron Vopal
Position: offensive tackle
2020 eligibility: redshirt junior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 Composite 3-star, No. 25 strong side defensive end, De Pere
2017 Recruitment: An in-state recruit out of De Pere, Vopal had a relatively quiet recruitment. After attending Wisconsin’s Junior Day in January 2016, Vopal was given an offer and verbally committed soon after. He was recruited as a defensive lineman coming out of high school and was one of seven in-state commits in the recruiting class of 2017. Vopal had only two other FBS offers, from Iowa State and New Mexico, at the time of his commitment.
Career statistics: eight games played, two tackles
2019 statistics: no games played
Player overview: After redshirting his first year on campus, Vopal was moved to the defensive side of the ball as a redshirt freshman in 2018. A slew of injuries along the defensive line, forced the Badgers to get creative and resulted in Vopal seeing some playing time at defensive end. Vopal moved back to the offensive line for the 2019 season, but saw very little, if any reps. He enters this season as one of a handful of offensive linemen that will be fighting to crack the two-deep up front. At 6-foot-6, 312 pounds, Vopal certainly has the size to compete in the trenches in the Big Ten, but for whatever reason he has had some trouble seeing the field in his first two seasons of eligibility.
Best case scenario for 2020: Best case scenario, Vopal solidifies himself as a back up at either one of the offensive tackle positions. Unsurprisingly, the Badgers are loaded on the offensive line and have a number of players competing for the starting spot at right tackle opposite Cole Van Lanen. While Vopal is unlikely to win the starting job, I could see him slotting behind either Van Lanen or Logan Bruss/Tyler Beach/Logan Brown and becoming a reliable backup for offensive line coach Joe Rudolph.
Likely role on team in 2020: The redshirt junior will likely be a depth piece and a veteran presence in the offensive line room for the Badgers. The fact is there are just too many talented offensive linemen on the team, a testament to Wisconsin’s recruiting in recent years, for Vopal to be a real difference maker up front in 2020. While there is a chance the redshirt junior sees some playing time if the Badgers get hit by injuries, Vopal will most likely be a back up and special teams player this season.