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Nine Badgers selected for Shrine Bowl 1000 preseason watch list

While one has left the program, eight players are on the radar for a premier college football all-star game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Shamrock Series - Notre Dame v Wisconsin
RB Chez Mellusi is one of the players to watch this season according to the Shrine Bowl.
Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2022 college football season hasn’t even started yet, and we’re already talking about college all-star games?

Playoffs? You kidding me?

After arguably the game’s most successful iteration this past spring featuring 46 players later drafted, the East-West Shrine Bowl put on by the Shriners in support of their Children’s Hospital, has put out their 2022 preseason watch list, with 1000 of the top seniors in the country that they’ll be watching and considering for their game in advance of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Nine of those 1000 are Wisconsin Badgers, though one of the eight has recently left the program. They are:

Offensive tackle Tyler Beach
Nose tackle Keeanu Benton
Defensive back Travian Blaylock
Cornerback Cedrick Dort Jr.
Outside linebacker C.J. Goetz
Running back Chez Mellusi
Defensive tackle Isaiah Mulllens
Defensive back Jay Shaw
Offensive lineman Cormac Sampson (the aforementioned player who just left the program)

Offensively, Beach and Mellusi will carry the water for the Badgers. Beach, entering his sixth season in Madison, looks to be slotted in at left guard for the Badgers in 2022, which is his best professional projection as well. His veteran presence will be valuable as the offensive line room transitions under the leadership of Bob Bostad.

Mellusi will be in an interesting spot, behind one of the best running backs in the country, the former Clemson product looked like he belonged as a starter for Wisconsin, before being usurped by the now sophomore phenom Braelon Allen.

Defensively, Benton is the big name to watch here. This is an honor for all of the players, but Benton is a potential top 2-3 round prospect and will likely fetch more competition between all-star games for his opportunity to apply his trade.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Wisconsin at Rutgers
Keeanu Benton is primed for a big season in the middle of UW’s defense.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Transfers Dort (Kentucky) and Shaw (UCLA) will both look to make their marks early and often in the Badgers secondary. Mullens and Goetz are two under-appreciated members of the Badgers’ front seven who could ascend into draftable range with solid final seasons in Madison.

Safety Travian Blaylock unfortunately suffered an injury during spring practice (torn ACL per report), and likely won’t be able to play this fall. He’ll probably remain on this list for the Shrine Bowl for next year’s game, if he chooses to use an additional year of eligibility.