By Rex Sheild @RexfordJunior on March 11, 2014
Coming off a 9-4 record in 2013, head coach Gary Andersen and Co. will look to make their way back to the Big Ten Championship in 2014 with the realigned conference divisions. Despite an opening ranked matchup against LSU at Reliant Stadium, the Badgers have a soft schedule for the rest of the 2014 slate. Can Wisconsin capitalize to re-establish itself on a national level? These five players lead the charge.
With James White's graduation, Clement moves a peg up the depth chart and will be relied on heavily in 2014 to be a solid running mate for Melvin Gordon. The only question mark regarding the sophomore is if his game is ready. He ran wild against far less superior teams in 2013, but saw minimal action in meaningful games. Clement needs to be factor, either big or small, in every game for the offense and the team as a whole to prosper in 2014.
A.J. Jordan is making the transition to a new position in 2014, as he will move from wide receiver to safety. As the roster looks now, Jordan should not be considered a long shot to secure one of starting safety positions. He is a natural athlete and has impressed the coaching staff with his play during the initial sessions of spring practice. The unit needs someone to step up, amidst the losses of Dezman Southward and Tanner McEvoy.
The tight end tradition is rich at Wisconsin, and Sam Arneson will look to follow in those footsteps as he will be the primary tight end in 2014. Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig did not utilize the unit during the 2013 season as much as some might have expected, so it will be interesting if things change in 2014. Nonetheless, Arneson possesses the ideal size and speed to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders.
Former Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland pointed out Warren Herring as a defensive player who will stand out in 2014, and there's no reason to believe otherwise. As a primary backup in 2013, Herring provided a spark with his quick-twitch technique and solid push up the middle. His efforts were rewarded with four sacks, tied for second on the team. He is the lone experienced player on the defensive line and will expected to lead.
Wisconsin's quarterback play under Joel Stave was horribly inconsistent, so can Tanner McEvoy get the position back on track? He lost the battle to Stave in 2013, but he is the perfect fit for the hybrid spread offense head coach Gary Andersen and Ludwig want to instill with his stout athleticism. Still, his delivery is unorthodox, but if he can correct that, he should be the front-runner in the race.
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