Most Indispensable Badger - No.12

Leading up to the season opener Aug.30, BadgerNation will announce its list of the 30 most important players to the Badgers' success in the 2014 season. A standout fullback who could now impact the Badgers as a tight end, junior Derek Watt is a multifaceted weapon for Wisconsin.

Derek Watt has had his fair share of collegiate experience with 26 career games played. He has played on both sides of the ball in two seasons with the Badgers, but has been very effective as their starting fullback since getting the job in fall 2012. This season will be a little different with the lack of experience in the receiving and tight end core. Looking to utilize Watt’s abilities, the Wisconsin coaching staff is looking to play Watt at some tight end. Already a reliable fullback, Watt will be a legitimate threat wherever he plays and is one of the most consistent players for the Badgers’ offense.

Stats: Has started five games in each of the last two seasons …Caught three passes for 20 yards and one touchdown last season … Had his only carry of the season against South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl (8 yards).

Strengths: Watt has plenty of strengths, but the ones that stand out to fans most is likely his power and his aggressiveness. He never shied away from a challenge of who he is blocking or what his role is. He is also impressively strong for being 6-2 and 230 pounds. His ability to use his strength to his advantage will be key this season to make the run game more and more effective.

Weaknesses: The only decernable weakness one could pin on Watt is that he hasn’t had any reps on the field as a H-back, only learning that tight end position in the spring. While he may not be perfectly fluid at the position, considering how fast Watt picked up the fullback role, it’s only a matter of time before the junior is fluid running route that will help out UW’s quarterbacks.

Why he is where he is: Watt breaks the top 15 because he will need to play exceptionally well this season in order for the run and passing game to be successful. No pressure, huh? Watt will need to be a consistent enough player that he can be relied on for over 40/50 snaps.

Overall: Watt will be a vital player on the offensive side of the ball this season, especially since his consistency and strength will make him a nightmare matchup to opposing defenses. He will clear up plenty of running lanes for the running backs and will protect the quarterback as much as he can.

Up Next: Looking for more speed on the field, No.11 on our countdown showed he can be counted on after working his way into the lineup last season.

Note: This is not a list of the team's 30 best players or a series about past success, but rather a list of which players are the most critical to the team’s success in 2014. The list was created based on a player’s overall importance, impact on the field, the player’s position and expectations. True freshmen were not considered for this season.

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