August 3, 2006

Fall camp preview: Linebackers

MADISON, Wis. - Today, BadgerBlitz.com continues looking at the Wisconsin Badgers football team position-by-position heading into fall camp. The Badgers report to camp on Aug. 6.

In this edition of the fall preview series we feature the linebackers, a group looking to upgrade in speed and athleticism. This fall the Badgers need to replace only two departed seniors in Dontez Sanders and LaMarr Watkins. The unit will also be without the services of sophomore Jammar Crane, who recently decided to transfer.

Like many of the positions this year, the linebackers have a new position coach in Dave Doeren who is replacing ex-linebackers coach Bret Bielema for obvious reasons.

Here is a look at the linebacker depth.


THE STARTERS ...

  • SAM DeAndre Levy (6-foot-3, 220-pound Sophomore)

    Last season, Levy played as understudy to Sanders, making appearances in 11 games. He recorded 18 tackles on the season. Levy earned the starting nod heading into fall camp after a strong spring practice season despite sustaining a late-spring groin injury. Levy should be good to go when camp convenes this coming week.



  • MIKE Mark Zalewski (6-foot-2, 232-pound Senior)

    Zalewski is considered one of the leaders on defense, and he's definitely the leader of the linebackers. He enters the fall as a third-year starter after starting his career at sam and then converting to the middle last season where he will continue to play in '06. Last season, Zalewski led the Badgers in TFL's with 12.5 and was the team's third-best tackler with 83, which ranks him as one of the top defenders returning to the Big Ten this season.

  • WILL Jonathan Casillas (6-foot-2, 214-pound Sophomore)

    Casillas is the fastest and most athletic linebacker the Badgers have. Because of his natural abilities, Casillas played on special teams last season on punt coverage where he blocked two punts. The more memorable of the two blocks - named a Pontiac Game-Changing Play of the Week - was converted into the game-winning score with 30 seconds remaining against rival Minnesota. Casillas also recorded 10 tackles last season on special teams and as Watkins' backup.

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