Receiver Lee Evans is between a rock and a hard place after tearing a knee ligament in March. After a last minute decision to bypass the NFL Draft last April, Evans must now decide whether or not he wants to rush back to play in the '02 campaign or redshirt and put off for another year his professional career. Coming into last September Evans was ranked as our fourth best wide out as we dubbed him the "next great receiver to come from Madison", and the Badgers have had their fair share of top players at his position. A natural pass catcher with a great feel for his position and the game, Evans stretches the defense deep making both the easy or difficult reception with regularity. The wherewithal displayed on the field by Evans is almost clairvoyant as he constantly gets open and though the "go to guy" one the offense, rarely to opposing defenses stop him. In a sentence; it is a joy to watch him play football. That said he's on the small side, losses out in battles with bigger defensive backs and though fast, lacks the second gear or top end speed. That is one reason why we hope he takes the year off as should he rush back and play before his knee is fully healed it could mean disaster. As is tradition the Badgers have a ton of line prospects. Ben Johnson mans the blind side and his name's been mentioned on more than one occasion as someone that would file for early entry to the draft. Johnson is a big, powerful tackle that anchors in pass protection or destroys opponents blocking for the run, removing them off the line. For the most part he blocks with solid fundamentals, using all his faculties to keep opponents away but he is neither agile nor does he display great blocking range and as a result may be better off on the strong side. Regardless; he is definitely day one talent. His cousin, Al Johnson, is the pivot man of the line and though not nearly as dominant a run blocker as Ben, Al is still solid combining quickness and brains as well as a good amount of strength. He does not have his cousin's size but shares his inability to play in space and will be a late round selection. Jason Jowers is a developing right tackle that does a solid job on the college level and has some possibilities in the pro's. The Badgers have several solid underclassmen up front and linemen that could grow into solid prospects down the road including guards John Clinkscale and Kalvin Barrett and a name familiar to many, Donovan Raiola whose brother Dominic was a star with Nebraska.
The past two seasons stripped the Badger defense of their top players. They go into the 2002 with a lot of question marks and may not have a single defender drafted next April. If there were one player that has a slight chance of hearing his name called it would be defensive end Jack Sprague, and athletic pass rusher with adequate size. After that the top prospect would be cornerback Scott Starks, a true sophomore.