Spring football wrap: defensive tackles

Part 10 of BadgerNation.com's position-by-position look at who thrived and what questions remain.

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News and notes – Seniors Anttaj Hawthorne and Jason Jefferson returned as the No. 1 tackles….Redshirt freshman Justin Ostrowski and senior Kalvin Barrett assumed the No. 2 duties, with junior Lyle Maiava rotating in.

 

Spring MVP – Anttaj Hawthorne is poised to be one of the best players in college football, let alone one of the top defensive tackles. A truly dominant, complete tackle, Hawthorne continued to develop and grow ever-more consistent. His combination of strength, agility, aggression and intelligence makes him almost un-blockable. As defensive line coach John Palermo often says, Hawthorne can be as good as he wants to be.  

 

Springing ahead – Justin Ostrowski was impressive from his first practice last fall and if spring practice is any indication, he will be a star before his collegiate career is complete. Ostrowski is powerful, quick and instinctive—not a bad understudy for Hawthorne.

 

Kalvin Barrett looks more and more comfortable at tackle each practice. His size and strength can gum up the works of an opponent's running game, making him an ideal back up for Jason Jefferson, who is the designated plugger on the first-team defensive line.

 

Depth to spare – With a super star teamed with a solid contributor on the first team, and two players who could start for a lot of teams on the second unit, the Badgers have plenty of depth. Maiava rotated in with the second unit and played decently, giving Wisconsin five tackles it can depend on. With a pair of highly touted tackles on the way this fall (Gino Cruse and Nick Hayden), the Badgers present and future at the position looks extremely secure.

 

Final note – Ostrowski began his career at defensive end and spent part of one practice there this spring when the team was desperately short at the position. He has the versatility and skill package to play tackle or end and will likely do just that if ends Erasmus James and Darius Jones do not return to full health.

Spring football wrap

Part 1 - wide receivers

Part 2 - defensive ends

Part 3 - offensive linemen

Part 4 - special teams

Part 5 - quarterbacks

Part 6 - running backs

Part 7 - tight ends

Part 8 - safeties

Part 9 - cornerbacks


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