Most Indispensable Badger - No.9

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. Working his way into the starting lineup, outside linebacker Joe Schobert has the ability to become a one-man wrecking crew on the edge of the defense.

To say Joe Schobert has experienced a lot in his football career would be an understatement. A two-time all-state player for Waukesha West, Schobert was all set to walk-on to North Dakota after every FBS school passes on him, despite the fact that he rushed for more than 3,800 yards and 51 touchdowns and was confident in the backfield, the secondary or returning kicks.

After an all-around dominant performance in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association all-star game and just days before he was going to leave for Grand Forks, N.D., Schobert finally got one FBS school – Wisconsin – to pull a 180. He was offered an opportunity to walk-on, started at safety, quickly earned a scholarship and now is primed to be one of the Badgers’ starting outside linebackers for the opener against LSU.

Possessing so much athleticism , Schobert will be a critical piece to the 3-4 puzzle this season on the defensive side of the ball.

Stats: Played in all 13 games with one start … Recorded 18 tackles (12 solo) … Added three pass deflections, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack against South Carolina.

Strengths: With Schobert’s running back background, he has been able to translate his speed, quickness and agility to the linebacker position. He is able to disrupt running gaps and get through an offensive line with pure speed and athleticism.

Weaknesses: Schobert has learned a lot of the past few seasons, but it is still obvious that he is still getting used to the proper technique of how to play his position more effectively. He doesn’t lack the fundamentals; he just seems to lack the ability to further enhance his arsenal of moves.

Why he is where he is: Schobert is at nine because he is going to be such a weapon for the Badgers on defense. The combination of his athleticism and strength will make Schobert a threat to opposing offensive lines because, simply put, he is a nightmare matchup, basically a quicker, but less instinctive, Chris Borland.

Overall: Schobert is a player that the coaching staff will need to rely on greatly in order to make big plays and prevent big plays from happening. He is also incredibly athletic and will use that to his advantage all season. Putting Schobert in the starting role will give him some much needed experience for the future and elevate the defense, as he has already shown to be confident in his skills and abilities as an impactful player in his limited reps. With plenty of collegiate under his belt behind Chris Borland and others, Schobert will use his experience to make him an important asset to the Badgers success this season, as his play will have an effect on the success of the defense.

Up Next: The unquestioned leader of his position and one of the leaders of the team, No.8 is entering his third year as a starter and only getting better.

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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