With 27 games under his collegiate belt, Darius Hillary will look to use that experience to his advantage with the veteran group of defensive backs and a young front seven in front of him. His impressive hands will work wonders this season, and he will need to be a dynamic corner that quarterbacks are afraid close to. He has the ability to do this, but needs to capitalize on the natural gifts he has.
Stats: Starting all 13 games after playing in all 14 games the season before … Hillary recorded 25.5 tackles in 2013, including 21 solo tackles … Recorded one interception and five pass breakups.
Strengths: Hillary is a quick corner that has exceptionally good hands because of his offensive background in high school. He creates a matchup problem with opposing receivers because of it.
Weaknesses: Throughout Hillary’s few seasons, he seems to still lack the aggressiveness in the air that the coaches would prefer to see. He doesn’t quite utilize his hands like he should and that is evident in the lack of interceptions and knocked down balls he has.
Why he is where he is: Hillary’s play is really important this season if the Badgers want to eliminate big plays from opposing offenses. There were too many instances last season where Badger corners were blown by and weren’t able to recover quick enough to make up for it.
Overall: Hillary is an exceptional corner that has great potential. Outshined last season by true freshman Sojourn Shelton, he will look to compliment the play of Shelton. If he is able to force receivers to really work for the passes thrown to them, Hillary has a chance to be a consistent corner and impact player this season.
Up Next: With immense talent, the athleticism to play different and having no clear backup, No.14 on our list has emerged as one of the leaders on Wisconsin’s roster.
Note: This is not a list of the team's 30 best players or a series about past success, but rather a list of which players are the most critical to the team’s success in 2014. The list was created based on a player’s overall importance, impact on the field, the player’s position and expectations. True freshmen were not considered for this season.