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Capital One Bowl 2014: Dallas Lewallen still a question mark for Wisconsin vs. South Carolina

After missing the last four games of the regular season, starting center Dallas Lewallen remains "very limited" in practice and may not play New Year's Day. Plus, A.J. Jordan works at defensive back, and recruits visit the Badgers' practice Friday.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

MADISON -- Wisconsin center Dallas Lewallen remains a limited participant in practice and may miss the Badgers' game against South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl on January 1.

The redshirt junior has had trouble overcoming a knee injury that kept him out of Wisconsin's last four regular-season games.

"He's a ways away from being able to play," head coach Gary Andersen said after Friday's practice. "Right now, we have to look at Dan (Voltz) because (Lewallen's injury) has not progressed as fast as we thought it was going to. Dan will be ready, obviously, but it's a major question mark to see if Dallas will be ready to play in this bowl game."

Injuries have been far from scarce for the Badgers' offensive line this season, and Andersen also noted Friday that senior guard Zac Matthias has seen the field more recently while starter Kyle Costigan works through some of his own.

"Costigan has battled through a lot of things, like a lot of kids on our O-line have, and they're not going to bat an eye and say, ‘I'm sore,' or ‘I'm hurt,'" Andersen said. "They're going to keep banging through it. But they're both playing at a good level now, and we really do need them both. I think the mix of those two has been productive the last couple games."

Jordan works at DB

Wide receiver A.J. Jordan has worked with the defensive backs this week in practice.

"Is that a forever thing?" Andersen said. "I don't know, but we'll continue working through that with a lot of those kids."

Jordan, a redshirt sophomore and former three-star recruit, has contributed on special teams this season, and Andersen praised his willingness to help the team in multiple capacities.

Jordan has worked with the cornerbacks and safeties this week. Andersen said safeties coach Bill Busch was the first to suggest that Jordan try playing defensive back.

"He's excited," Andersen said of Jordan. "It's a more than an experiment. It's a good opportunity for A.J. to get in there because he's shown he can tackle. He's shown he's physical. We're just kind of seeing where we're at and how he handles the whole thing. Could be either (corner or safety). He's a good-looking kid that plays hard."

Recruits visit practice

Many recruits were at the Badgers' practice Friday, a group that included Sun Prairie High four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans, who committed to Wisconsin in April.

While many programs are still preparing for bowl games, recruiting for the 2014 class has picked up over the past two weeks.

Andersen said coaches have had to balance recruiting visits with their preparation for South Carolina, and he added that current team members play a major role in the recruiting process.

"Even our seniors are excited to be involved," Andersen said. "We encourage every recruit that comes in here to talk to as many kids on the team as they can. I think that's a big part of the process. The validation of the program is through the kids in the program."

Andersen also said he's impressed with the way his first recruiting class has developed over the course of this season, particularly in the weight room.

"Their body changes, you can definitely see it from August until now," Andersen said. "They've kept their weight up or they've kept their weight down or they've gotten stronger.

"A lot of them are flashing in positive ways. I think overall, I just look at the development from where they were in August to where they are now, and I'm impressed. They're bigger. They're strong. They carry themselves with a little more confidence. That's good to see."

Quick hits

-- Andersen on recruiting rankings: "I will never look at one of those recruiting rankings as long as I live. No one's going to tell me who a three-star or four-star athlete is."

-- Andersen said special teams could play a major role against South Carolina, pointing out the Gamecocks' speed and tackling ability in that phase of the game. He also said the Gamecocks won't hesitate to call fake punts or kicks.