Wisconsin Football: Preseason team awards

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Jonathan Taylor
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Jonathan Taylor /
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Wisconsin Football LB Zack Baun
MADISON, WI – OCTOBER 15: Dontre Wilson #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes makes a catch past Zack Baun #56 of the Wisconsin Badgers in overtime at Camp Randall Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Comeback Player of the Year

Outside Linebacker – Zack Baun

Baun has been waiting patiently throughout his time in Madison to get the chance to do what he’s going to this Friday against Western Kentucky. Baun was recently named as one of the starters at outside linebacker opposite Andrew Van Ginkel.

Baun is entering his fourth year as a Badger, but only has one season of play under his belt. He redshirted as a freshman in 2015 and played in 12 games in 2016, but behind the likes of T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel. Last year he was hoping to take the leap and become an impact player until a foot injury knocked him out for the season.

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He had a scare in Spring practice with his foot injury but is all set to take on his new role as a starter.

Baun brings top-notch athleticism to the defense and good size at 6’3 and 230 pounds. Wisconsin has a reputation for plugging and playing effective linebackers, and Baun hopes to be just the latest to see success in the Badger defense.

Baun will likely be part of a rotation early in the year as the Badgers have the luxury of working through some kinks with weak non-conference opponents. By the time conference play starts he should be solidified as the starter and trust his injury enough to give 110% on the field.

Winning the starting job is a great sign. If Baun lives up to his potential, he’s going to be a real threat to opposing backfields.

Other candidates: Taiwan Deal, Patrick Johnson