Russell Wilson: "I used to beat people up a lot"


"I used to beat people up. Truthfully, I used to beat people up a lot. Many of you readers probably think I have been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes my whole life, but honestly, I was a bully growing up. In elementary and middle school, I threw kids against the wall. I rubbed their heads in the dirt at recess. I bit them. I even knocked teeth out." — Russell Wilson

That's Russell Wilson at The Players' Tribune, the new "athletes unfiltered" venture from the newly retired Derek Jeter. Wilson was named Senior Editor on Thursday, but more importantly, he's published this eye-opening post titled "Let's Talk About It." He discusses his anger as a young teenager, how he used his faith to cope with it and how nobody will be able to if we don't speak out and be frank with ourselves. It's pretty easy to roll eyes when athletes take on societal issues like this, but this is a commendable, stark post by Wilson -- that "Goody Two-Shoes" line is pretty hilariously spot-on. Count one for Jeter and The Players' Tribune.

2016 OLB recruit Emanuel Bridges talks Wisconsin offer, UW-LSU game


"I know they played a good game against a good SEC team like LSU even though they lost," said Bridges. "I’m very interested in them. I will visit, but I just don’t know when."

2016 four-star Newnan, Georgia, outside linebacker Emanuel Bridges. The Scout story is paywalled, so I apologize for this sort of misdirection. The quote resonated with me, though, and prompted me to share here because it seems to be precisely one of the biggest advantages touted for scheduling premier non-conference opponents like LSU. Win or lose, recruits will take notice of Wisconsin. Win or at least keep it close (or blow it in skullcrushingly brutal fashion), and UW's stature improves all the more. Sure, this is just one recruit, and he's a while from committing. Who knows if Wisconsin will land Bridges -- he has about a dozen known offers already -- but I'm curious to hear what people think.

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel writes on Joel Stave facing 'the yips'


"Among 93 high school and college coaches, only 10 of them had not coached a player with the Yips. Collectively they’d coached 364 such athletes."

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel in a story on Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave struggling with "the yips."Simply put, and as you likely know by now, the yips are issues athletes encounter where some sort of mental block prevents them from completing an otherwise routine throw or pass. This New York Yankees fan (yeah, yeah) not-so-fondly remembers Chuck Knoblauch famously struggling to complete throws from second to first base in the late '90s. It's not something to mock, though; particularly for a college athlete already facing a ton of pressure, facing the yips can linger indefinitely and prematurely end a career. This story by Mandel is a great look at the scientific factors behind them, and what Stave faces in trying to work past them. Best of luck to him in moving forward.

J.J. Watt is a rich(er) man


"Watt said pizza boss he worked for told him he wasn't big enough to play football. He said 'hi to that guy.'"

J.J. Watt, via the Houston Chronicle's John McClain. Watt signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension Tuesday, making him the NFL's highest-paid defensive player. The quote above is just so perfect, particularly for Wisconsin fans who remember Watt's humble beginnings as a walk-on transfer from Central Michigan. While at CMU, Watt famously delivered pizzas to keep himself afloat. Now, he's one of UW's most beloved alumni in the NFL.

An opposing coach's take on Wisconsin


"You leave a game with Wisconsin after getting your face kicked in and go, 'Who were those guys?'"

Anonymous coach to Sports Illustrated, via The full quote is part of SI's season preview issue, and also credits the Badgers as follows: "I don't know a program in the last 20 years that has won as many games as they have without a quarterback that anyone has heard of."

Melvin Gordon gearing up for junior season


"They might stack the box. But they stacked the box last year. It'll be no different in that area."

That's Melvin Gordon to Jesse Temple of Fox Sports Wisconsin. The story is really great, and worth the time for any Badgers fan. Among the topics they discuss: Gordon's draft stock, his goals for the season, how his family's been handling relentless calls from agents and what it'd take for him to consider leaving early.

Mohammed Ahmed's brilliant track and field career drawing to a close


"Ninety to 100 miles a week for five years. That’s a lot."

That's Wisconsin track and field star Mohammed Ahmed in a wonderful feature from the State Journal's Andy Baggot profiling one of UW's most storied runners. A Somali native, Ahmed overcame early classroom struggles and his quiet nature to become a strong team leader and reach numerous milestones along the way. The senior begins the NCAA Outdoor Championships today.

Sports on Earth: Melvin Gordon is college football's most explosive runner


"It's not because he's the prototypical Big Ten power back and nobody's strong enough to tackle him; it's because nobody's able to react quickly enough to bring him down."

SoE's Matt Brown knows what's up. His profile of Gordon is fantastic, and auto-read material for all Badgers fans. Hold on, y'all. The season's almost here. profiles new Director of Football Operations Jason Thomas


"I’ve adopted a similar philosophy to Coach Andersen. If you take care of yourself academically and socially, athletics will always take care of itself. The type of man and woman you are in the classroom is going to have a direct reflection on the type you are on the field of play."

That's just one quote from Jason Thomas in Mike Lucas' profile of Wisconsin's latest Director of Football operations. The full story is worth a read, as Lucas traces Thomas' path from talented high school wide receiver who was sidetracked by injuries to Utah State's assistant athletics director. Now, he joins the Badgers for Gary Andersen's second year in Madison.