Better than the Brothers

Last year definitely has set the tone for redshirt freshman Josh Harrison's career at Wisconsin. Not only did his team winning a conference title and go to the Rose Bowl, Harrison has shed his high school weight and started to master the playbook, two big reasons why he's be so involved with Wisconsin's linebackers in spring camp.

MADISON - Of the three boyhood friends that picked up their first scholarship offer on the same day, it appears Josh Harrison made the right decision so far.

Harrison, Terry Talbott and Terrence Talbott all hail from Huber Heights, Ohio, are best friends dating back to middle school and got their first college scholarship offer from Wisconsin. Harrison committed to the Badgers in August while the Talbott brothers waited until signing day to officially commit to Michigan.

Although redshirting last season, Harrison got a conference championship ring, a Rose Bowl experience and improved enough for one season that he is getting repetitions with the first-team defense at the middle linebacker position.

After practice, Harrison talks to Badger Nation.

Badger Nation: Talk about how beneficial your redshirt year was for you. How did you adjust over the year to get confidence and figure out what you need to do to be successful?

Harrison: The redshirt year was definitely very, very beneficial to me. I didn't think it would be at first and later in the season, I was learning the playbook a little better and really getting accustomed to things. Really, I got my body right. I was still in my high school body but after working with Herbs, I've got that right. I think that was the main benefit.

Badger Nation: Talk about growing. What were you able to add on last year in terms of weight and strength? How do you feel carrying that weight?

Harrison: When I came in, I was at 230 and now I am at 222, but my body is right. I had more fat when I came in. Now I am more lean and I feel really good.

Badger Nation: Was it easy to pick up the playbook during that year? A lot of players say it's hard to learn the playbook on the scout team because you are doing so much work imitating the other team.

Harrison: It definitely was difficult during the season but come bowl prep time, things started clicking a little more. Now that we have a little bit different of a coaching staff, some things are different, so it's like starting from square one a little bit. I've been catching things since.

Badger Nation: What are some of the difference under Coach Huxtable?

Harrison: I like the emotion that he brings. I had a very good high school coach and for me personally, he reminds me a lot of my high school coach. You can tell that he has a love and a desire to be the best. That's really what he brings and that's the main thing I enjoy that he brings to the program.

Badger Nation: Can you talk about the first two weeks. You are getting a lot of reps with Chris Borland being out this spring. How is the chemistry between your group?

Harrison: I am working with A.J. Fenton and Conor O'Neill but I've been doing stuff with Kevin Claxton and Mike Taylor, as well. Really, the whole linebacker corps is cool with each other. We get along with each other real well and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. I think that shows out on the field.

Badger Nation: Borland isn't that old, but he has a lot of experience on the field. I am curious how beneficial he's been to you and what it's been like talking to him?

Harrison: Chris Borland, not only is he a great player and he gives is all on the field, is a very smart player. It's definitely beneficial having him as a second coach along with Ethan Armstrong. They've been leading me, directing me, helping fix my mistakes and just guiding me to be successful to learn the defense more.

Badger Nation: What do you think your biggest improvement has been from this year to last year? You talk about getting your weight right, but from what has improved from a skill standpoint?

Harrison: Well, I don't know if you call it skills, but my knowledge in the playbook is increased and my physicality. I am able to be more physical and work with those big offensive linemen, moving those guys around a little bit more than I could last year.

Badger Nation: What was getting the Rose Bowl experience like? Pretty good that you get that experience your very first season, so what does that do for a guy in your situation who hasn't yet played but you have that motivation?

Harrison: It definitely sets the tone for the rest of my career. The whole entire week we were there was just incredible. Everything about it was amazing and it definitely wants to make you come back playing a more important role to help the team successfully come out of the Rose Bowl.

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