With the departure of veteran inside linebackers, junior Vince Biegel will need to continue his impressive run as a prolific Wisconsin playmaker. With NFL-level ability, Biegel will need to step into the leadership role more than ever if he wants to be one of the nation’s best. On watch lists for the Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski awards, Biegel has little downfalls to his game, which is rare as a redshirt junior. He can disrupt offenses practically by himself, which is exactly what the coaching staff is looking for from the head of the defense to try and increase the unit’s turnover numbers.
Strengths: Biegel has plenty of strengths but is most known for his explosiveness off the edge and disrupting the run game. A year ago he led Badgers with 16.5 tackles for loss and ranked second on team with 7.5 sacks, showing that impressive athleticism he has been able to develop over the years by learning from some of the Big Ten’s best.
Weaknesses: Biegel has few weaknesses but it seems as though he seems to only really struggle with the pass game, recording only four pass deflections and no interceptions in his career. He is no J.J. Watt, but he needs to develop his ability to bat down and break up passes to become a well-rounded player.
Why he is #4: Biegel was a big reason why Wisconsin finished fourth in total defense at 294.1 yards per game, and a No. 17 ranking in scoring defense at 20.8 points per contest, a season ago. An important puzzle piece, removing Biegel from the lineup could be disasterous for Wisconsin, as the Badgers’ depth at the position is sketchy. UW does have Jesse Hayes, a seldom-used fifth-year senior, but four of the six backups are freshmen, including three true freshmen who have yet to go through their first fall camp.
Overall: Biegel has incredible ability and instinct when it comes to being successful on defense, especially when it comes to stopping the run and creating havoc on opposing quarterbacks. He is able to push through double teams and manhandle opposing linemen. Biegel is so critical if the Badgers want continued success on the defensive side of the ball because of the work he has put in on and off the field. Look for Biegel to have another terrific season and solidify himself as one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten.