Combining a strong fall camp with the injury issues of projected starter Leon Jacobs, Orr delivered 14 tackles in the third week of the season and soon took over the starting role. The DeSoto (TX) native started six games and made 10 appearances for Wisconsin, with the only thing slowly him down was a leg infection in late October that cost him three games. Even with the loss time, Orr still finished sixth on the team in tackles.
Stats: 46 tackles (24 unassisted), two tackles for loss for 11 yards, half of a sack, three quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery in 2015.
Strengths: It is easy to tell Orr is confident in his play. With his motor constantly running, he never seems to takes any plays off, allowing him to be an asset in helping stuff the run and relying on his instincts to make a play. It was surprising to see Orr come in and be strong against the run from the start but his confidence in the middle of the field helped UW’s defense hold opponent’s rushing attacks to an average of 95.4 yards a game, which ranked fourth in the country. The experience Orr gained as a true freshman will only allow him to become more comfortable in Wisconsin’s defense and allow him to have a better understanding of what he needs to continue to do as he strives to become a complete player.
Weaknesses: Although Orr is active throughout the play, he could do a better job of finishing plays when he’s in the backfield. Orr will need to continue to gain strength this offseason, which should help him break free from blockers. If Orr can gain the necessary strength, it will only help him in his pass rush and in pass coverage skills.
The more Orr can show to defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Justin Wilcox the better chance he will have to be on the field consistently. Orr can’t suffer from dropoffs at times like he did last year. After he registered 14 tackles against Troy, his tackle numbers in the next five games were four, eight, three, seven and two.
Why he’s #22: If Wisconsin wasn’t stacked at the inside linebacker position, Orr would be ranked higher on the list. Even though Orr will be a key player for Wisconsin’s defense this coming season, it is hard to know if he’s going to start as he battles with sophomore T.J. Edwards and senior Jack Cichy for the two starting spots. Even if Orr is the odd man out, he will still receive starter-like reps throughout the game. With Orr’s motor it is hard to not see him continuing to push Edwards and Cichy so he can be on the field and help the inside linebackers be a strong unit.
Overall: Coming from a football family (his dad was an eight-year N.F.L. veteran, his second-oldest brother is with the Baltimore Ravens and his third-oldest plays for TCU), it shouldn’t be a surprise that Orr made an impact, only that is came so quickly. A first year that was a success by any measure, Orr earned a spot on the Big Ten Network’s All-Freshman team. What he does for an encore in his second year at Wisconsin will be interesting, as the combination of Orr, Edwards and Cichy are all capable of helping Wisconsin’s defense. It could be a matter of matchups and which players’ strengths can help keep the unit fresh throughout the game but make no mistake that Orr will see a lot of opportunities.