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NCAA Football

Then and Now (2 of 2): A look back at the careers of key members of Wisconsin’s 2010 football team

Here’s part two of my post on the careers of the now-departed members of Wisconsin’s 2010 football team. You can find part one here.

OL Bill Nagy
Then: 6’3″, 295 lbs; three stars (Rivals.com); Hudson, Ohio class of 2006
Now: 6’3″, 318 lbs; drafted No. 252 overall by the Dallas Cowboys

Like Moffitt, Nagy is the kind of big, athletic lineman Wisconsin has done such a good job of developing over the years. He didn’t play a lot until his senior year, starting only three games his sophomore year and missing much of his junior year following a nasty moped accident in the beginning of the season. After recovering from the injury, Nagy became somewhat of a jack-of-all trades on the Wisconsin offensive line as a senior, starting eight games at center and guard and even moonlighting as a third tight end in jumbo packages. He was named an honorable mention all-Big Ten performer in 2010 before being selected by the Dallas Cowboys at the very end of the NFL Draft.

QB Scott Tolzien
Then: 6’2″, 174 lbs; two stars; Palatine, Ill. (Fremd) class of 2006
Now: 6’3″, 205 lbs; undrafted

Especially after poor quarterback play helped ruin a promising 2008 season for Wisconsin, Tolzien’s efficient and consistent play was one of the more pleasent surprises of the Badgers’ 2009 and 2010 seasons. Tolzien was not a highly regarded recruit. He received six scholarship offers, choosing Wisconsin over smaller football programs like Kentucky, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan. Most people believed then-redshirt freshman Curt Phillips would win the starting quarterback spot in 2009, but the smaller, less athletic Tolzien won the job and never looked back. He doesn’t have the strongest of arms, but Tolzien’s smart play and consistent preperation allowed him to start all 13 games in 2009 and lead the Badgers to a Champs Sports Bowl victory. Tolzien was even better in 2010, completing a ridiculous 73 percent of his passes for 2,459 yards, 16 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His play in victories over Big Ten heavyweights Iowa and Ohio State was sensational. Now, Tolzien is waiting for the NFL and NFLPA to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement so he can get a chance to play quarterback in the NFL.

RB John Clay
Then: 6’1″, 221 lbs; four stars; Racine, Wis. (Park) class of 2007

From Rivals.com’s original scouting report:

…in college he projects as a big back who will wear down a defense. Clay is a student of the game and his willingness to wait on his blockers is impressive at this stage. Clay has straight forward speed and has a head of steam after just a few strides. He can deliver a blow and will do so more often when coaches to run lower.

Now: 6’1″, 255 lbs; undrafted

John Clay’s career at Wisconsin was interesting. He was one of the top players in Wisconsin’s 2007 draft class and, after redshirting, had two extremely productive seasons at Wisconsin in 2008 and 2009. He was still a valuable asset for the Badgers in 2010, but problems with injuries, conditioning and competition from freshman standout James White and a revitalized Montee Ball kept the former Big Ten Player of the Year from making a run at the Heisman and turning himself into a strong NFL prospect. Still, he was named a third-team All-American in 2010 and rushed for an impressive 3,413 yards during his three season career, seventh most in Wisconsin history. After deciding to forgo his senior year, he looked very slow in the weeks leading up to the NFL draft and was not selected. Hopefully, Badger fans will remember him more for his overwhelmingly positive contributions to the program during most of his career rather than its sputtering conclusion.