Although this year hasn't been what we'd all hoped, the seniors have provided a lot to the Wisconsin football program. A brief recap of the seniors' careers at Wisconsin, here are the guys who [sometimes] get the ball. Not a lot of graduates, but quality over quantity:
#44 Chris Pressley, Woodbury, New Jersey
Bielema joked at the Champs Sports Bowl presser that while our scout team can’t match FSU’s athleticism, he doubts the Noles scout team can replicate a 280-pound fullback. Introducing . . . Chris Pressley. Chris is a lineman’s kind of fullback. He only had two carries all year, but that’s not why he’s here; he’s a road-grader. Scratch that, he’s a very smart road-grader. Chris graduated last year as an academic all-Big Ten, and is keeping that up, with a perfect 4.0 in grad school, leading the way for the Badgers through the hole and in the classroom.
#34 Bill Rentmeester, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Our other hulking fifth-year Senior fullback, Bill also excels on special teams. He doesn’t carry the ball often (11 carries for 52 yards this season), but iced the Fresno State game with a key, leg-churning, draw play to pick up a first down in the waning moments deep in Wisconsin territory. His five tackles and key blocks for the kicking units have earned the attention of NFL scouts. Bill and Chris have been a great tandem of fullbacks and will be tough to replace next season.
#9 Travis Beckum, Milwuakee, Wisconsin
Came in as a 5-star recruit on the defensive line. A reserve linebacker and special teams player his true-freshman year, he, along with fellow reserve linebacker Andy Crooks, was switched to tight end his sophomore year. He immediately made a difference and was noticed as a semi-finalist for the Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end), and a Walter Camp second-team All American. In a 12-1 season that started with serious question marks regarding who on earth Senior John Stocco could throw the ball too, he quickly became the go-to guy. His signature drag route across the middle was nearly uncoverable and Stocco found him on it to seal the Capital One Bowl win over Arkansas. His Junior year, he continued to impress. He was a finalist for the Mackey Award and named a Walter Camp first team All-American. He led the nation’s tight ends in receiving yards and broke the record for catches by a Badger tight end. 2008 was largely a bust as he was hurt in the preseason and saw limited action before breaking his lower leg.
Outside of Travis, the Badger offense lacked star power throughout his time, but Travis was truly special. Big, fast, and sure-handed, he was the perfect weapon in a Paul Chryst offense and will likely be the best remembered player of the 2008 senior class.
Good luck to Chris and Bill as they take on the Noles, and good luck to all of them in whatever they do next, whether it's playing on Sundays or something else.