The Front Seven - Michigan State

With 105 players on the roster, there are plenty of key components and players that will be important to Wisconsin's success? Who is going to be important this week? Badger Nation takes a look at the front seven.

MADISON — Welcome to week five of the Badger Nation Front Seven Power Poll. After a 70-3 win over Austin Peay last Saturday, there was little movement in the Front Seven with nearly every single Badger shining against the mismatched competition.

Even a meaningless punt from Brad Nortmann to end the game rolled 76 yards before settling on the one-yard line. Yay FCS opponents.

As usual the rankings are determined based on performance, expectations and need — a wonderfully vague definition of valuable, to justify just about any selection.

Please vent debates and disagreements on the premium board.

Last week's rankings in parentheses

1. J.J. Watt, DE (1) — The junior defensive end leads the team in tackles for a loss and in quarterback hits, ranks second for the Badgers in pass break ups, has forced a fumble and blocked one kick. Teams are focusing on running away from Watt so much that fellow bookend Louis Nzegwu leads the team in tackles from the other side of the line. Watt went down twice Saturday with a knee contusion, but was back in after missing one play each time

2. Gabe Carimi, LT (2) — The offensive line cleared the way for 346 rushing yards Saturday and the Badgers are now averaging 257.5 yards on the ground per game. With Big Ten play starting up, Carimi's importance becomes even more vital with quality pass rushers coming to play, something UW was rarely challenged with in its first four games.

3. Lance Kendricks, TE (3) — Another huge game for the fifth-year senior Saturday. Kendricks provided his second straight game going over 100-yards (103 total) on six receptions to go with one touchdown. With Nick Toon sidelined by injury, Kendricks has provided the security blanket for Tolzien when he needs to just lob the ball and let someone make a play. Curiously, Kendricks keeps springing wide open on play-action looks, despite being the most dangerous receiver on the team.

4. Scott Tolzien, QB (4) — Tolzien was a dropped ball from Clay and a thrown away ball out of bounds from being a perfect 17-for-17 Saturday. As it is, he will have to deal with going 15-for-17 for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Tolzien has done a much better job finding the running backs in the past few game, getting Montee Ball and James White several touches out in space.

5. Aaron Henry, FS (NR) — And here comes the boom. That is the reputation Henry and fellow safety Jay Valai are trying to set anyways for receivers daring to wander over the middle of the field. Henry laid out Austin Peay receiver Ashlon Adams in the second quarter Saturday to give opponents a message via game tape. Along with the superb hit, Henry leads the team in pass break ups with five and has shown improved fundamentals tackling this season.

6. John Clay, RB (5) — Remember when some were touting Clay as a Heisman candidate earlier this season? Yeah, that dream is probably long gone. Clay has been steady — posting four straight games over 100 yards to start the year and has scored at least one touchdown in each game — but far from spectacular. He still lacks breakaway speed, and is averaging just 19 carries a game. His dropped pass Saturday insures he will be a non-factor in the passing game once again this season.

7. James White, RB (NR) — After going three games without finding the end zone, White took advantage of his opportunities when he got them Saturday. He posted the longest play from scrimmage this year for UW, a 66-yard TD dash off a power toss play and chipped in three other touchdowns as the day went on. Not only did he solidify himself as the No. 2 back on the roster ahead of Montee Ball, he became only the second freshman — along with Ron Dayne — to score four touchdowns in one game for the Badgers.

Badger Nation Top Stories