Wisconsin Badgers: 5 Most Impactful Seniors

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Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Joe Schobert forces a fumble on a strip sack of Iowa Quarterback C.J. Beathard. Jim Oxley photo

Joe Schobert

Joe Schobert has been quite the story in his four years as a Badger. Schobert began his Wisconsin football career in 2012 as a walk-on. Fast forward a few years later, he has developed into one of the best outside linebackers in the Big Ten and a big reason why the Badgers have the top-ranked defense in the country.

This season, Schobert ranks in the top three in the conference in sacks, tackles for loss, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. His performance this season will land him several postseason awards. Schobert is a semi-finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. He also put himself into the discussion of Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Schobert’s story is a similar tale for Wisconsin fans. Some former Badger walk-ons include J.J. Watt, Jared Abbrederis and Jim Leonard – not bad company for the linebacker from Waukesha, Wisconsin. Schobert was set to walk on at North Dakota before Bret Bielema asked him to consider walking on at Wisconsin the day before Schobert was going to leave home for North Dakota.

Schobert saw action in five games as a freshman and was named Wisconsin’s Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He appeared in all 13 contests with one start in 2013 as a sophomore.

Schobert finally earned a scholarship last season and started in all 14 games as part of the Chevy Bad Boys playing alongside Derek Landisch, Marcus Trotter and Vince Biegel at outside linebacker. Schobert recorded 69 total tackles, including 13.5 for loss. He added three sacks and had team highs in pass breakups with seven and quarterback hits with five. His play during his junior season earned him a consensus All-Big Ten honorable mention selection.

In his senior season, Schobert has had a big year. In addition to the postseason awards listed earlier, he is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award as well as the Lombardi Award. Schobert may have made himself some money playing at the next level. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s latest NFL mock draft has Schobert slated for a third-round selection. Not bad for a player that received zero Division I scholarship offers out of high school.

Next: Most Impactful Seniors: Tyler Marz