Getting them covered

The emergence of Brett Bell and the maturation of Scott Starks has the Badgers cornerback position looking like a potential strength. Part five of a 14-part series.

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For the third straight year Scott Starks will start at left cornerback for Wisconsin. Starks has started 24 straight games for the Badgers and his experience should give Wisconsin a solid presence at the position. The rest of Wisconsin's corners have little to no experience at the position, making Starks easily one of the most important players on the Badgers roster.

 

Starks looked physically more impressive this fall—stronger, faster, quicker. He has an above average ability to break on the ball and displayed a knack for reading receiver's patterns and jumping routes this fall. He should improve drastically on last season's sole interception. Starks is by no means a shutdown corner and will give up his fair share of yards and catches, but he has improved steadily each year and will likely be an above average to very good corner for UW this season.

 

Brett Bell's drastic improvement through the course of this fall has answered one of the Badgers biggest questions heading into fall camp. Bell had a very impressive fall camp. His coverage skills are quickly improving, though Bell could still improve on his ability to track and make plays on the ball once it is in the air. Bell has good size for the position, 6-0, 193, and he is a very good athlete. Bell has displayed a physical presence, especially when stepping up to make hits on receivers. There will likely be growing pains with Bell continuing to relearn a position he starred at in high school, but Bell has taken what may have been a liability and made it, more than likely, a strength.

 

The Badgers depth at corner looks significantly improved on past years, but the team has some questions marks in reserve. Chuckie Cowans lost his nickel back position to reserve strong safety Joe Stellmacher, but remains the No. 2 left corner, backing up Starks. Cowans has the most experience of the reserves, and he has seven career tackles. Cowans is on the small side at 5-8, 169, and he can be overpowered by bigger receivers, but he has adequate coverage skills and makes solid plays on the ball. Cowans will likely help the team on special teams.

 

Sophomore Levonne Rowan was supposed to challenge Bell at right corner, but it hasn't happened. Rowan has not had a bad fall camp, but his incredible raw athleticism still does not translate directly to corner skills. Rowan is a tall and very fast corner, but he needs to become more fluid in coverage. Like Cowans, Rowan is a very good special teams performer.

 

Freshman Roderick Rogers has emerged at the corner position. Rogers has great hands, agility and good overall coverage skills. He has plenty of room to grow, but the potential is certainly there. Rogers is at worst the No. 5 corner and has rotated with Rowan as the second unit right corner. Rogers could soon overtake Rowan and Cowans to become the top reserve at the position. Rogers has very good size at 6-2, 185 and he uses it well. The young player certainly has a bright future. He may also help on special teams.

 

Sophomore Johnny Sylvain remains No. 3 at left corner and will play with the scout defense this season.

 

Redshirt freshman Tony Moss looks much improved after returning from injury this fall but still has kinks to work out. He is a fantastic athlete who could help the Badgers down the road. Moss will also play with the scout team.

 

Redshirt freshman Enrique Cook converted from wide receiver to cornerback during the last week of fall practices. It is far too early to assess his play at his new position. Cook will play with the scout defense.

 


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