Rising Star: Nick Herbig
Anyone who watched Nick Herbig play last year probably isn’t all that surprised by the season the sophomore pass rusher had in 2021. Herbig graded out as the defenses’ 3rd best player (83.4) and registered 7 sacks along with 34 pressures (most on the team). Herbig also graded out as having the 2nd best pass-rushing grade on the team (91.3) – only behind Junior standout Leo Chenal.
It was surprising to see Nick Herbig only receive honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, but one thing is for sure – he’ll be recognized on a more national level next season because he’ll be the best player on the Badgers defense.
Best Newcomer: Chez Mellusi
The Clemson transfer hit the ground running when he arrived in Madison. Mellusi quickly ascended to the top of the Badger’s depth chart and paced the backfield early in the year before an injury ultimately ended his season. Mellusi finished the season having carried the ball 173 times for 815 yards (4.7 YPC) and five touchdowns – while adding 7 catches for another 66 yards.
Chez Mellusi proved to be a really solid addition from the transfer portal, and as long as his recovery goes smoothly – he should return to a significant role in the Badgers backfield behind star running back Braelon Allen.