Last football offseason we went through every single player on the Wisconsin Badgers roster. While it was certainly interesting to dig into some of the lesser known players, there were a lot of players where, well to put it politely there just wasn’t a lot to say about every player on the team.
This offseason we decided to go in a bit of a different direction and now each writer (who wanted to participate) has picked one player that they think is going to breakout this year in Madison. We are using “breakout” in the broadest sense so that this isn’t all guys buried on the depth chart. To us, “breakout” means taking the next step in your career and reaching the next level.
You’ll find many names you are already familiar with, and so without further ado, let’s get started!
Name: Caesar Williams
Year: senior (we use the official listing from UWBadgers.com’s roster which doesn’t take into account the COVID year until the player takes it)
2020 stats: seven games played, thirteen tackles (six solo), two passes defended
2021 breakout reasons: Heading into his sixth season in Madison, many people would think that there’s no chance a player who has been around as long as Williams has, and who has played as much as he has, could possibly breakout.
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND.
Williams and Faion Hicks will form one of the oldest and most experienced groups of starting corners, not only in the Big Ten, but also the country in the 2021 season. As we’ve seen with the Badgers defense during Jim Leonhard’s tenure as the defensive coordinator, this defense’s floor is always very high, but they can be really damn good when the pass rush produces. While this isn’t an article about the pass rush, the biggest benefactors from an improved pass rushers are the defensive backs who can be more aggressive and not have to cover so long.
Caesar Williams has always had this air about him, even when he was a true freshman peeking into the two deep, that there was a greater potential behind what the Badgers were getting from the long, athletic cornerback. 2021 could be the year we see it. In a secondary full of experienced, talented players, Williams could be the one to make the most of this extra season and catapult him into the upper echelon of corners in the Big Ten.
2021 season prediction: I predict Williams will start every game for the Badgers at cornerback, and show some of the ball production that should be a result of an improved pass rush. Williams should end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 tackles, with two interceptions and a handful more of passes defended.
Williams plays the field corner position for the Badgers, so while he may not see as many targets as Hicks will on the boundary, but Williams’ length and a solid last season in Madison should propel onto NFL radars as a late round pick or undrafted free agent.