Indispensable Badger #3

Counting down the days to Wisconsin opens the regular season, Badger Nation's new summer feature will rank the 50 most indispensable players of the 2013 Wisconsin football team. Today we reveal No.3.

Dezmen Southward

Position: Safety

Experience: Redshirt Senior

2012 Stats: A consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selection … Started all 14 games … Recorded career highs in tackles (69), tackles for loss (eight), interceptions (two) and passes defended (five) … Recorded seven tackles in the Rose Bowl, tying a career high.

Strengths: Southward's speed and quickness are superior compared to opposing receivers and that will cause all sorts of problems for offensive coordinators.

Weaknesses: Southward has been known to have a few coverage issues in the past. He has given up careless touchdowns in the past due to lack of coverage recognition. Look for him to fix this almost immediately if not before the season begins.

Overall: Southward is going to need to step up this season as the Badgers starting safety. His experience is unmatched compared to other members of the secondary, which lost three seniors off last year's team and lost significant depth in the offseason. His speed and quickness will be utilized when an opposing offensive coordinator thinks of throwing the long ball, especially since Southward can play safety or nickel cornerback.

Look for Southward to use experience to his advantage this season. He will be a critical force on the defensive side of the ball for the Badgers as they look for their fourth consecutive Big Ten Championship.

Up Next: Our No.2 player will be revealed Thursday

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