Comeback Player of the Year: Taiwan Deal
This award couldn’t have gone to anybody else. Deal not only had a great season for somebody coming back from a serious injury, he had a great season, period. Heading into the year I couldn’t figure out who was going to spell Jonathan Taylor. Was it going to be Garrett Groshek or Chris James? Turns out Deal was the answer all along and I hardly gave him any thought.
Deal was the perfect change of pace from Taylor and was a bruiser in short-yardage situations. He ran hard, just as any other Wisconsin running back would, and he took advantage of every opportunity given to him.
Being able to rely on a guy like Deal is a luxury this team didn’t have last year. There is a very slim chance Deal could return to the team next year, but if he doesn’t the Badgers will have to find a replacement for that comfort he gave the offense. Early options look like a healthy Bradrick Shaw or Garrett Groshek.
Deal’s career may not have ended up how fans had hoped it would after a promising freshman season but it definitely ended well. Sometimes you just get dealt a bad hand of cards and have to make due. Deal did a masterful job at coming back from his injuries and making an impact on the team.
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Stats courtesy of Sports Reference.