June 15, 2007

Badgers lock up state's top prospects

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While it won't go down as the deepest year in Wisconsin, there is still plenty of talent that makes up the newly released Rivals.com Wisconsin top 5. At the top of the list is four-star defensive end Tyler Westphal of Menasha, Wis.

Westphal, who is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, is already ranked as a member of the Rivals250 and the No. 9 weakside defensive end in the nation. He was an early Wisconsin commitment, picking the Badgers over early offers from Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.

As a junior, Westphal earned first-team all-Fox Valley Association honors. He was also named to the Appleton Post Crescent all-area team. On the defensive side of the ball he had 87 total tackles and 11.5 sacks. He also plays tight end, and has record an amazing 34 -inch vertical leap. That's quite impressive for a guy that's 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds.

"The college coaches love the way Tyler accelerates to the ball, especially for his size," Brad Westphal, Menasha's coach and Tyler's father, said. "They said they don't often see players at 6-foot-6 accelerate the way he does. Some have said that, depending on the defensive scheme, they believe that he could play outside linebacker in a 3-5 scheme."

Despite the early attention from all the other schools, Westphal felt like Madison is where he needed to be at.

"It'll be cool to be part of the Wisconsin tradition," he said. "As a little kid you think about playing for Wisconsin and now I can be part of that tradition."

At No. 2 on the list is another Badger commitment offensive tackle Peter Konz of Neenah, Wis.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder is ranked as the nation's No. 39 offensive tackle and a three-star prospect. He committed to the Badgers at the end of May, turning down scholarship offers from Western Michigan, Duke, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.

"I would have to say definitely their football program, the prestige, sold me on Wisconsin," he said. "You know these past couple of years they've been pretty good, you know two Capital One Bowl wins in a row. You know they were just barely out of BCS contention for one of those bowls. This upcoming season they are ranked pretty highly and for me to almost miss an opportunity to be on probably one of the greatest football teams that Wisconsin has ever seen would be almost stupid, I think.

"With a good a team right here in state it's just a good choice. And the linemen they produce at Wisconsin. Obviously with my main position being an offensive tackle, they always have guys in the NFL draft and that's really where I want to be in the next five or six years."

Rivals.com Wisconsin top 5




 

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