Defensive Player of the Year
Safety – Scott Nelson
Like Ferguson, Nelson is coming into his second year with high expectations after performing well in his redshirt freshman season. In a relatively young defense, Scott Nelson started to become a leader on the defense last season. He showed signs of being a playmaker in the secondary that the defense needed badly. D’Cota Dixon, now in the NFL, was the leader of this secondary last year. Nelson had a year to watch and learn, and now is stepping into that role on the team.
Nelson got the starting job last season and got his feet wet. Wisconsin will be depending on him to be an important part of the defense this season. Nelson has a nasty attitude on the field and won’t be afraid to be a vocal leader on this team. He will be in charge of a young secondary that will not have a senior on it. He and Eric Burell will likely be playing safety with Cesar Williams and Faion Hicks at cornerback.
Last season, he was all over the field. He can cover in the secondary and also come up on the line and make a play. In eight games, Nelson had 41 total tackles along with 3.5 tackles for a loss. In the games he didn’t play in, you could notice the lack of his presence. If the Wisconsin defense is going to get back to what it is was in 2017, Scott Nelson is going to be a big part of it.
Other candidates: Chris Orr, Zack Baun, Garrett Rand, Rachad Wildgoose