Wisconsin Football Countdown: No. 98, Yusef Burgess


As the countdown to the first Wisconsin football game of the season continues, Badger of Honor is taking a look at Badgers by the numbers, checking in on a different Badger or Badgers players who wore the number corresponding with the remaining days until the Badgers head to Texas to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 5.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Next up in our countdown, signifying 98 days until college football is back, is linebacker Yusef Burgess.

Traditionally a kicker or punter has worn the number 98 for the Badgers.

Linebacker Yusef Burgess stands out among those who wore No. 98, a jersey he sported from 1990 to 1993. He was a stalwart on the Badgers defense that won the 1994 Rose Bowl. He, along with fellow linebackers Chris Hein, Eric Unverzagt and Bryan Jurewicz, did enough defensively — despite 500 yards of offense from UCLA — to help the Badgers pull off the Rose Bowl win.

Burgess had a team-high 12 tackles in the win, and the Badgers forced six turnovers, mitigating the 500 yards of total offense from the Bruins. The Badgers won 21-16, the first of three consecutive Rose Bowl wins.

As a senior starter for Wisconsin in 1993, Burgess totaled 100 tackles (10 for a loss) and led the team with seven forced fumbles.

Madison.com columnist Jim Polzin wrote in 2010 that Burgess was a part of the 1990 recruiting class that helped Wisconsin go “from pathetic to Pasadena.” In the article, Burgess talks about how then-head coach Barry Alvarez convinced out-of-state talent like Burgess (from Chicago) to come to UW.

"“The way they sold it, Wisconsin was a sleeping giant in the Big Ten.”"

That proved true, and Burgess and the rest of the class of 1990 (Brent Moss, Mark Montgomery, Joe Rudolph…) helped turn the Wisconsin football program into what it is today.

Other notable No. 98’s:

• Punter Brad Nortman, at UW 2008-11, in NFL since 2012

First to wear No. 98:

• William Strahan, Tackle, 1937

Who wears it now?

No Badgers player is wearing No. 98 right now.

Stay tuned to Badger of Honor as we continue our daily countdown in preparation of the season opener against Alabama.

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