Jean Trying to Recover

Expecting to take the next step at his position after starting all 14 games his redshirt freshman season, cornerback Peniel Jean is still trying to get healthy after his fall camp injury.

MADISON - In terms of momentum, cornerback Peniel Jean had his shoulder pads full of confidence in the final week before Wisconsin's season opener against Northern Iowa.

Playing in 14 games last season and emerging as the team's standout nickel cornerback due to Devin Smith's broken foot, Jean was a playmaker throughout camp and sent his expectations sky high after he built off his redshirt freshman season.

Unfortunately for him, Jean has tempered his excitement after breaking the fifth metatarsal left foot on a routine play and having surgery on the final week of fall camp.

"I was trying to think positively, because it was out of my hands with what happened," said Jean. "On my way back, I'm just trying to come back strong and find a role on my team … and play wherever they want me to."

Sidelined for the team's first six games, Jean saw his first action of the year in the fourth quarter against Purdue. It lasted one play, as he was one of the unfortunate people on the field who watched Akeem Hunt run 81 yards for the touchdown.

Jean did not play last Saturday against Minnesota, but is hopeful to play on one of the four special teams units when Wisconsin hosts Michigan State (4-4, 1-3) at Camp Randall Saturday.

"I'm feeling good," said Jean. "I am getting the hang of it. I just need to gain more confidence than just thinking about the injury. My body is fine. I just have to regain that confidence in planting on my foot and changing directions."

In Jean's absence, redshirt freshman Darius Hillary has filled in admirably, registering 20 tackles in all eight games (three less than Jean made in 14 games last year). Even with his season slowed, Jean's high expectations for himself haven't changed.

"I've learn not to take this game for granted," said Jean. "I wish I could be out there from the beginning to the end and now that I am getting my opportunity again, I am really appreciative of that."

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