It's a Numbers Game

The new roster, complete with incoming freshmen and new numbers is up. Notable changes: Jay Valai from #12 to #2, filling the sizable shoes of Casillas and Calhoun. However, more relevant to Valai -- and even bigger shoes -- two standout corners have worn the number, Scott Starks, this Scott Starks, and all-time Badger corner Jamar Fletcher.

Kyle Jefferson takes his third number in three years (previously #14 and #7) at #3, worn by maybe THE great all-time Badger receiver, Lee Evans.

Blake Sorenson abandons #27 (my favorite number) to take up #9, most recently used by Beckum, and before him Orr; if it does for him on defense what it did for them on offense, not too shabby. Oh, and some guy named Paul Chryst also wore it once (also on offense).

Finally, J.J. Watt switches from #87, a tight-end-feeling number, to #99, a dominate-the-line kind of number (best worn, apparently, by Rick Graf, a linebacker before my time).

Some other notes:

No one on the roster is listed as a fullback.
Eric Kossoris is still listed as #32 at WR, but if so, he can't play at the same time as this fella. Something tells me Eric isn't looking at a lot of playing time on offense.

As for the incoming freshman?
Fan-favorite-in-the-making, QB Jon Budmayr will wear #5, same as that Brooks Bollinger fella.
DL David Gilbert will wear #11, worn best in my memory by Darrell Bevell and Owen Daniels, and also well by DeAndre Levy. DB Ed Withers, the Badgers' first Black All-American (twice), also wore the number.
DB Desmond Southward better be tough as he takes the #12 abandoned by Jay Valai and Tyler Donovan.
Stud LB recruit Conor O'Neill takes #13, a number ordinarily worn on offense, but I like it when linebackers wear those low numbers.
WR Jeff Duckworth is #15, worn once by some Vander Kelen guy you may have heard of.
DB Josh Peprah is #17, left behind by All-Big Ten and team MVP CB Allen Langford.
DB Darious Thomas is #23, but with DB Mario Goins already wearing #23, the newcomer appears slated to redshirt.
Highly touted RB Montee Ball may be looking to make a new number famous for Badger backs, coming in at #31.
LB Ethan Armstrong is #36 worn not too long ago by, get this, freshman linebacker Travis Beckum.
LB AJ Fenton is #39, vacated by PJ Hill.
LB Chris Borland takes #44, worn by Rose Bowl-contributing linebacker Donnel Thompson (we need some more great walk-ons . . .).
TE Jacob Peterson takes #48, which has primarily been a linebacker's number, but worth noting that Garrett Graham wore it his freshman year.
TE Brian Wozniak takes #49.
DL Tyler Dippel is #51, worn best by C "Iron" Mike Webster, a 9-time pro-bowler, and 4-time Super Bowl winner, also on the NFL's 75th anniversary team (not bad; but he left us way too soon).
LB Nick Hill is #52, worn by another center, All-American Cory Ramer, a key cog on the '93 Rose Bowl team, and an 11-year NFLer.
OL Casey Dehn is #63, also worn by a '93 Rose Bowl contributor, G Joe Rudolph (maybe Dehn will fill in some much needed depth at guard?).
OL Travis Frederick is #72. That Joe Thomas guy wore #72. No pressure though.
OL Zach Matthias is #75. All-American Tackle Chris McIntosh wore #75.
DL Ethan Hemer is also #75
OL Ryan Groy is #79. Another solid lineman, Aaron Gibson anchored the line for the '99 Rose Bowl team at #79.
Anticipated star, WR Kraig Appleton took, perhaps looking for a number to blaze his own way as a great Badger receiver, #81.
DL Shelby Harris will live in Garrett Graham's shadow at #89
DL Jordan Kohout is #91 perhaps hoping to live up to lineman Don Davey's long shadow.
DL Pat Muldoon is #92, taking over where Matt Shaughnessy left off.
TE Michael Brunner and K Pat Hughes selected #96, a number not associated with great Badger tight ends or kickers.

Always good to link to these: All-Time Badger Roster, and my take on it, here.

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