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Badgers Football: Taking a closer looking at new Wisconsin outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel

Breaking down new Wisconsin outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, one of six early enrollees from the 2017 signing class.

Andrew Van Ginkel

Outside Linebacker

Commitment Date: 11/1/16


At Iowa Western

2016: Played in 11 games … logged 50 tackles, including 13.0 TFLs and 3.5 sacks … also recorded an interception and a fumble recovery.

At South Dakota

2015: Started all 11 games at defensive end … first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference … finished third in voting for STATS FCS National Freshman of the Year, highest among defensive players … Missouri Valley Football Conference Freshman of the Year ... named to MVFC All-Newcomer team … led conference and ranked 10th nationally at 1.7 tackles for loss per game … finished season with 18.5 TFLs and nine sacks ... recorded 56 total tackles, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups

High School 

First-team all-state selection at defensive back as a senior … selected for Iowa Shrine Bowl all-star game … finished career for Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley with 176 total tackles, 21.5 TFLs, 10 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries … team went 32-4 during his three varsity seasons … recorded 95 tackles, including 14.5 for loss, as a senior … also played quarterback as a senior, throwing for 1,466 yards and 17 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,413 yards and 15 TDs ... five-time state qualifier in track, including bids in long jump and 4x100 and 4x200 relays as a senior.

Recruiting Competition

Van Ginkel committed to Wisconsin over Power Five offers from Colorado, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia

Why Wisconsin? 

“From the city to the academics to the football, the tradition here is just well above those schools. When I came on my visit it was second to none.”

Coach’s Comments

“We checked into his film from his year at South Dakota and were extremely impressed. We thought he was the right fit for us as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense … We wouldn’t have gone and recruited him and brought him in if we didn’t think that he was going to be a player who would contribute to our program right away. He really actually fills a void because we don’t have anybody in the outside linebacker room that’s in his class. Garret Dooley is the lone senior with T.J. Watt leaving early, there’s nobody in the junior class and we have Zack BaunTyler Johnson and Max Praschak in that next class. He fills an open spot between the seniors and sophomores we have on the team.” – Outside Linebacker coach Tim Tibesar

Scouting Report

Even though his history in college had him in the trenches at defensive end, Van Ginkel’s pass rush skills make him a good fit as an outside linebacker in the Badgers' system. He’s a sound tackler, squaring up his shoulders, keeping his head up and driving through the player. Van Ginkel reads the play well and had good lateral movement, allowing him to move sideline to sideline and fill his gap assignments to make plays against spread teams. His spin move once he’s engaged with an offensive lineman still needs to improve for the Big Ten level, but he shows a decent job disengaging from contact and using his bull rush to make plays in the backfield.

BadgerNation Prediction

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst has asked about the outside linebacker progression following Friday’s scrimmage and went to his default answer: he liked the way the group is working and they have to improve on everything.

Dooley has been practicing like the senior of the group, Baun is getting more reps with the starters and senior Leon Jacobs starting to get back into a flow. After those players is a laundry list of youthful exuberance in the group, but while he is new the program, Van Ginkel isn’t new to how things are done on the field.

“I think he’s done really great job of learning,” Van Ginkel said. “You can tell the experience. Of the seven guys that came in, you can tell he’s older as far as practicing, how to practice and how to maximize those (reps).”

While he’s been banged up with an arm injury, Van Ginkel has done some really good things on the field and has relied on his experiences to help him transition a little bit faster than some of the younger players on the roster, including those who were on the team last season. It’s part of the reason why Wisconsin pursued a junior college player – a rarity for the Badgers – to help the program deal with the burden of what turned out to be losing its terrific starting duo of Vince Biegel and Watt. 

When he gets healthy, Van Ginkel will be someone who will compete on the field this season.

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