Nearly a Complete Change

Combine a change of schools and a complete change of positions, No.2 free safety Chris Maragos' football life has completely changed over the past two years. Actually, one aspect is exactly the same as it was two seasons ago.

MADISON – A lot has changed in the life of Chris Maragos over the past two years – a change in schools, a change in positions and a new outlook on his football career. Everything has been turned around except for two things – his faith and the opponent.

Call it déjà vu, career bookends or a heavy dose of irony but Maragos has ended one career and started a new career playing the same Akron football team.

"It's pretty ironic," Maragos said of the coincidence. "This summer I was thinking about the last time I played, which seemed like forever ago. It's pretty cool that Akron is the opponent again."

Two years ago, Chris Maragos was running routes as a freshman for Western Michigan. On November 24, 2006, he has two receptions for 24 yards in his last game as a Bronco against the Zips, as disagreements and differences with the coaching staff caused him to seek a transfer.

"I started that redshirt freshman year and really, just kind of had a run in with the coaches, a little bit of a disagreement, and just parted ways from there," he recalled. "I was looking for a school to transfer to and Wisconsin was always a dream for me to go to and play for."

After using a connection to get former Badger Luke Swan to deliver his game film to the UW coaches, Maragos' dream became a reality and he received his fresh start, although the NCAA mandated that he sit out the 2007 season because of his transfer. After playing his whole career, Maragos found himself developing the playing itch.

"To sit out a year was pretty trying and from playing big-time opponents to nothing was tough," Maragos recalled. "Really though, I had to prepare for my teammates and if I couldn't be out playing physically, I had to be on the practice field competing everyday to prepare my teammates to play on Saturday and get ready to roll."

But when Maragos finally steps on a field again Saturday, it will be on the opposite side of the football. Being approached by Coach Bielema, the Wisconsin head coach wanted to see, because of his body type and his abilities, if Maragos wanted to try and play a safety, a position Maragos hadn't played since high school and even that was marginal.

"I thought if that's going to help out the team and really going to better us, then lets go," Maragos said. "There have been a lot of ups and downs, ins and outs, but you just try to grasp it as much as you can each and everyday and get better at things everyday."

After working the position in Outback Bowl prep and tirelessly trying to perfect it over the course of the spring and fall, Maragos has entered the season as the No. 2 free safety, will start at the safety position in the "Badger" package and will play in every phase of the kicking game.

"I feel a lot more comfortable playing the position and for me now, the big thing is the fine point details," Maragos said. "I feel really comfortable back there and Shane Carter has been great teaching me the things I need to know and taking me under his wing. I've really been able to pick up (the position) a lot faster because of him and my coaches."

After spending many nights praying and hoping and two years of learning and studying, Maragos is ready to showcase a whole new set of abilities on Saturday. It's been a journey that Maragos does not regret one aspect of.

"God works in mysterious ways," Maragos said. "After the falling out I had at Western (Michigan) to transferring here, I really felt the Lord was calling me here. I never thought I would be playing defensive back here. Now to see the role I have on this defense and being a spirtual leader for this team is just amazing."

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