Wisconsin Football: Preseason team awards

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Jonathan Taylor
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Jonathan Taylor /
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Wisconsin Football
MADISON, WI – NOVEMBER 12: Corey Clement (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Rookie of the Year

Wide Receiver – Aron Cruickshank

Cruickshank’s name has been buzzing for months. Even before Spring practices when he started making plays, his speed was raved about. He’s not just fast. He’s fast fast.

The concern around Cruickshank is his size. He’s listed on the roster at 5’9 and only 154 pounds. But it hasn’t stopped him from making a killing all offseason. His speed is something new to Wisconsin and he’s somebody coach Paul Chryst wants to see with the ball as often as possible. Cruickshank can flip field position and momentum at the snap of a finger. He needs the ball, even as a true freshman.

Cruickshank will see opportunities in the kick return game, as a traditional receiver, likely on sweep plays, and hopefully as a wildcat quarterback. Anything you can do to get the ball in Cruickshank’s hands, you must do.

I don’t expect gaudy stats from the newcomer, but his highlight reel will be the most fun to watch at the end of the year. When he’s on the field he’s going to force defenses to pay attention to him. I can’t stress how explosive this guy is. There needs to be a new word for it. He’s going to change this offense.

Other candidates: Scott Nelson, Kayden Lyles