Most Indispensable Badger - No.13

With the college football season just around the corner, BadgerNation brings back its list of the 20 most important players to the Badgers' success in the 2015 season. Emerging from the group to claim a starting spot in the spring, redshirt freshman inside linebacker T.J. Edwards is poised to be a multi-year threat.

With a redshirt season under his belt, inside linebacker T.J. Edwards is looking to begin his Wisconsin career on the right foot. With plenty of scout team reps last season, Edwards will need to step up to the plate and become effective almost instantly. Leaving spring as the starting inside linebacker next to Leon Jacobs, Edwards has big shoes to fill after the departure of seniors Derek Landisch and Marcus Trotter.

Strengths: Edwards has not been able to show fans his true strengths and weaknesses per se, but he will have plenty of time at Wisconsin to show the coaching staff and the fans what he has to offer. He’s got a great frame for a linebacker at 6-1 and 232 pounds that mixes a good helping of strength and quickness. He has the ability to use his athleticism to explode through the line as well as work with his other linebackers to disrupt developing plays.

Weaknesses: Experience is the biggest drawback right now with Edwards, who is going to be jumping from the scout team to the starters to Alabama in his first game. He has the potential but it will take time for him to develop as a complete linebacker.

Why he is #13: Edwards is a critical piece to the Wisconsin defense with his responsibilities to recognize coverages, deliver calls and make plays. The fact that he has to fill such giant consistent shoes is key. If Edwards can do even half the work Trotter and Landisch did this season, the Badgers will be in good shape for the next four years.

Overall: Edwards has plenty of potential to become a great linebacker, as his skill set will allow him to flourish in the Badgers’ defensive scheme. It helps that he has an impressive athletic frame that will be key for Wisconsin to prevent big plays through the middle of its defense. Look for Edwards to be a critical piece to the puzzle this year.

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