Heading into fall camp, the offensive line for the Wisconsin football team appeared to be set in stone from left to right, with some competition expected of course. However, as it always goes an off-season of hard work and development puts players in a position to earn snaps regardless of where things stood entering camp.
Of the lineman currently on the roster, there are 2 five-stars, 6 four-stars, and 5 three-star linemen. That’s a pretty impressive group, even for O-line U.
Given the Badgers’ dearth of options that appear to be game-ready, and the absurd amount of depth the Wisconsin football program has compiled – Joe Rudolph is going to have his work cut out for him.
Today we’ll take a look at the current state of the Wisconsin offensive line as the team gets ready for week one against Penn St.
1. Tyler Beach (6-foot-6 312 lbs)
2. Logan Brown (6-foot-6 311 lbs) OR Tanor Bortolini (6-foot-4 306 lbs)
Tyler Beach has missed some valuable time in camp nursing a leg injury that’s given way to reps for multiple players in camp. This has given former five-star tackle Logan Brown an extended look running with the ones in his absence as well as Tanor Bortolini and a few others.
While both Brown and Bortolini figure into the Badgers’ future plans, come week one Tyler Beach is going to be your starter at left tackle. Beach has played in 34 games at Wisconsin and should be one of the most dependable options on the line.
1. Josh Seltzner (6-foot-4 310 lbs)
2. Cormac Sampson (6-foot-4 305 lbs)
Entering fall camp left guard was one of the true position battles on the offensive line. As things currently stand both players have had their opportunities running with the one’s but most of those changes have gone to Josh Seltzner. The former walk-on and Columbus, Wisconsin native has 32 games of experience under his belt and appears to have earned the chance to begin the year with the ones.
That being said, I think Cormac Sampson is a damn good interior lineman in his own right, and someone Wisconsin should feel fortunate to have a reserve. The Badgers coaching staff also feels good about his potential as a full-time starter next season.
1. Joe Tippmann (6-foot-6 320 lbs)
2. Kayden Lyles (6-foot-3 312 lbs)
To me, this was the one true surprise on the offensive line during fall camp. Kayden Lyles was finally healthy and appeared to be set to start the year at center.
Coach Rudolph has always made things abundantly clear that his goal is to get the team’s five best offensive linemen on the field and figure out the rest later. This year the player that appears to have forced his hand is interior offensive lineman, Joe Tippmann.
Joe Tippmann may have been a forgotten man entering camp due to injuries, but the talent is nothing to shake a stick at. Tippmann was the 3rd ranked member of the Badgers’ 2019 recruiting class that also featured Logan Brown and Graham Mertz. He came to Wisconsin as a tackle like most linemen does initially, and quickly found a home on the interior.
He’s a massive human being at center, currently measuring at 6-foot-6 320 pounds (biggest player on the roster) – and after a committed summer in the weight-room (430 lbs bench/616 lbs squat) he’s ready for an expanded role. What stands out about Joe Tippmann’s game is that he’s just an incredibly physical lineman that finishes every single play. I think the Badgers offensive line will be better as a unit if he’s the one starting come week one, and it would appear that things are trending that way.
1. Jack Nelson (6-foot-7 304 lbs)
2. Michael Furtney (6-foot-5 312 lbs)
Not much to see here. Top 100 national recruit and Stoughton native Jack Nelson has been running with the ones since spring practice. His talent was just too overwhelming to keep off the field, so the redshirt-freshman was moved to right guard to ensure him a spot with the starters. Nelson has been lauded as one of the toughest linemen on the team and someone who consistently brings the “nasty” you want on your offensive line. Jack Nelson is going to be a fun player to watch grow and will undoubtedly be a pillar of this offensive line’s success moving forward.
1. Logan Bruss (6-foot-5 316 lbs)
2. Trey Wedig (6-foot-7 315 lbs) OR Tanor Bortolini (6-foot-4 306 lbs)
Logan Bruss is this team’s rock on the offensive line has played in 32 games for the Badgers – logging starts at both guard and tackle during his career. Behind him is the highly decorated top 100 linemen from the 2020 class, Kettle Moraine native – Trey Wedig. Wedig is going to be a fixture on this offensive line for years to come and is going to take every chance to soak in as much knowledge as he can from the experienced players ahead of him because he’s likely to start next season and beyond.
As for Tanor Bortolini, he hasn’t yet found a permanent home but Joe Rudolph has mentioned him as being one of his “top nine” guys. So don’t be surprised when he finds himself in a position to play if someone goes down, because the coaching staff loves this kid. The cream always rises to the top, so having a permanent home isn’t of much importance right now – these things tend to work themselves out.