Another huge personnel loss following last season was in linebacker Chris Borland, whose unparalleled skill will likely never be matched. One of the guys Wisconsin is looking towards to help ease the transition is senior Derek Landisch. Landisch has the most experience out of the other linebackers and will be huge for the Badgers this season if they want to succeed on the defensive side of the ball. His quickness and ability to bust gaps is impressive and the coaching staff will need him to step up more than anyone else this season, and Landisch will be called upon every game to be a consistent presence the entire season. If the linebacking core wants to be successful this season, Landisch will need to play the most consistent football of his entire life.
Stats: Played in 10 games with two starts … Registered a career-high 33 tackles (including 19 solo tackles) … Registered his first career sack against Illinois … Finished with two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass deflection.
Strengths: Landisch has impressive instincts and has the ability to bust through gaps when needed. He moves very well through an offensive line and will use his high football IQ to his advantage. He will be the leader on defense and everyone will look to him.
Weaknesses: Landisch doesn’t lack much except for experience and strength. He sometimes has trouble handling guys that are way bigger than him but does make up for it in quickness. He also lacks starting experience, but so does everyone else in the front seven.
Why he is where he is: Landisch easily breaks the top 10 because of his value to the team. He has the most experience out of the entire linebacker core and will use that to be successful. He is an impressive player and the coaching staff will rely on him more than anyone else.
Overall: If he can stray healthy, Landisch will be the rock of the defense this season. His impressive skill set will be huge for the team’s defensive success this season. His quickness will make him a nightmare to opposing offensive lines. He also learned how to play the game under Borland, which will serve him well. Look for Landisch to be one of the most consistent defensive players this season.
Up Next: He burst on to the stage early in the nonconference season and now the No.6 player on our list is ready for a big role on Wisconsin this season.
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.