Wisconsin’s talented and plentiful senior class has rightfully received plenty of regional and national publicity this season. Such is the case with success.
The Badgers will honor 24 seniors Saturday, with the UW players greeting their parents on the field at Camp Randall prior to a 2:30 p.m. kickoff with visiting Minnesota.
“So many different scenarios ran through my head. A couple times I was like it’s a game. Yeah, it’s my last game at Camp Randall but we got to go out there and play a game,” fifth-year senior tight end Tony Paciotti said. “Another one was run out crying cause I’m going to see my parents crying. I just hope when it comes times to run out of that tunnel, my parents aren’t crying because if they’re crying I’m going to start crying.”
“I had a lot of experiences at the Camp,” fourth-year senior cornerback Scott Starks said. “I had a lot of good experiences, a lot of bad experiences. They’ve all been learning experiences, something I can take from everyday life and something I can just take hold wherever football takes me.
“It will definitely be an emotional day. See my parents on the field, give them a hug on the field. It’s going to be emotional.”
“I can’t wait to see him out there,” Paciotti said. “There’s a couple guys that you know are going to be emotional and he’s one of them.
“Then there’s a couple guys that you know won’t shed a tear. No matter what happens there ain’t going to be no tears coming out of their eyes. All the o linemen are going to go out with that stone cold look on their face. Because that’s what they are. They go out and they play with that face. It’s in the back of their head that it’s senior day…they are going to go out there and they’re not even going to crack a smile. They won’t even smile with their parents. They might not even smile for the picture…”
Paciotti cited one exception to that rule.
“Morgan Davis might be able to shed a tear,” he said.
Fifth-year seniors, at a glance:
Kalvin Barrett, DT, Spring Valley, Calif. – Started eight games at offensive guard in two seasons before converting to defensive tackle. Has eight career tackles.
Dan Buenning, OG, Green Bay, Wis. – Has started 45 of last 47 games. Named second-team All-Big Ten as a junior. Named to Outland and Lombardi Trophy watch lists this year.
Jonathan Clinkscale, OG, Altadena, Calf. – Started 40 of last 42 games, including all 21 contests the past two years.
Chuckie Cowans, CB, Chicago – Played in 31 games, starting four last season. Has 40 tackles in career.
Anthony Davis, TB, Plainfield, N.J. – Four-year starter has amassed 4,345 career rushing yards, ninth most in Big Ten history. He has 22 career 100-yard rushing games and five 200-yard outings. Has rushed for 39 touchdowns.
Morgan Davis, OT, Barron, Wis. – Greyshirted first school year at Wisconsin, then redshirted in 2000. Started all 13 games last year at left tackle and has started five games at right tackle this year.
Erasmus James, DE , Pembroke Pines, Fla. – Redshirted fourth year at Wisconsin due to hip injury. Has blossomed into one of college football best defensive players as a senior. Has 120 career tackles, 17 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss.
Jason Jefferson, DT, Chicago – Has 33 starts in last three years. Has 92 career tackles and five sacks.
Matt Katula, LS, Brookfield, Wis. – Has played in 44 of 47 games in his career as top long snapper. Has nine career tackles.
Mike Lorenz, OT, Manitowoc, Wis. – Has started 16 games past two seasons. Served as jumbo-package tight end two seasons ago.
Tony Paciotti, TE, Jessup, Pa. – Has played in 43 career games, including all 35 over past three seasons. Has 26 career starts. Known as a top-notch blocker, Paciotti has three career pass receptions for 31 yards.
Jonathan Welsh, DE, Houston – Has played in 43 career games, starting 19. Has 117 career tackles, 13 career sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. Second on team with eight sacks last season.
T.J. Wielebski, LB, Ottawa, Wis. – Played in one game this season.
Badger fourth-year seniors
Mike Allen, PK, Prescott, Wis. – Former walk-on split kicking duty freshman year and was primary kicker for three full seasons. Has 196 career points.
Robert Brooks, SS, Carrollton, Texas – Has started eight games over last two seasons. Top reserve first three years, overcame injury to start as senior. Has 116 career tackles. Leads Big Ten with three forced fumbles this year.
Darrin Charles, WR, Oshkosh, Wis. – Has played in 46 games, including 10 starts. Has 72 career catches for 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns.
Anttaj Hawthorne, DT, Hamden, Conn. – Played in 46 games, including 37 starts. Made preseason watch lists for Nagurski, Outland and Lombardi awards. First-team All-Big Ten last season when he was second in the conference with 20 tackles for loss. Career stats: 184 tackles, 38 tackles for loss, nine sacks.
Jim Leonhard, FS, Tony, Wis. – First-team all-American junior and sophomore seasons. Former walk-on has become a star. Led the nation with 11 interceptions two years ago. Holds Big Ten career punt return yardage record with 1,204. Just three interceptions from breaking Jamal Fletcher’s school record of 21. Has played in 47 games, starting last 35. Has 252 career tackles.
Scott Starks, CB, St. Louis – Four-year starter has done so for 44 of last 47 Badger football games. Has 220 career tackles and 51 passes proken up. Also split kickoff return duties his year.
Fourth-year juniors, completing UW careers
John Gillen, LB, Glen Ellyn, Ill. – Reserve linebacker who very rarely played.
Lyle Maiava, DT, Honolulu – Has not lettered.
R.J. Morse, P, Waipahu, Hawaii – Wisconsin’s starting punter first three years on campus, he has not played a snap for the Badgers this year and technically has a year of eligibility left but will not return. Morse averaged 39.3 yards per punt on 164 attempts.
Greg Root, FB, Palmdale, Calif. – Converted linebacker served as Matt Bernstein’s backup last two seasons. Also played on special teams. Played extensively in second half of Penn State game this year, helping Bernstein run for 123 yards.
Jake Wood, OL, Bettendorf, Iowa – Lettered last season as reserve offensive lineman.