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DEPTH CHART

NOSE TACKLE

Projected starter;Ht.;Wt.;Yr.;Hometown

91 | Bryson Williams; 6-2; 300; So.; Lincoln, Neb.

Backup

74 | Gunnar Roberge; 6-4; 292; Sr.; Seymour

The rest

95 | Keeanu Benton; 6-4; 315; Fr.; Janesville

DEFENSIVE END

Projected starters

97 | Isaiahh Loudermilk (above); 6-7; 293; Jr.; Howard, Kan.

93 | Garrett Rand; 6-2; 279; Jr.; Chandler, Ariz.

Backups

92 | Matt Henningsen; 6-3; 286; So.; Menomonee Falls

52 | David Pfaff; 6-2; 288; Sr.; Mequon

The rest

90 | Isaiah Mullens; 6-4; 283; Fr.; Columbus, Ohio

56 | Rodas Johnson; 6-2; 293; Fr.; Columbus, Ohio

51 | Gio Paez; 6-3; 305; Fr.; Los Angeles

94 | Boyd Dietzen; 6-3; 264; Fr.; Combined Locks

98 | C.J. Goetz; 6-3; 241; Fr.; Muskego

57 | Michael Balistreri; 6-4; 288; So.; Grafton

THE SKINNY

Garrett Rand’s return from an Achilles injury should help a unit short on depth last year. He missed the entire 2018 season after expecting to start at defensive end. His absence forced UW to move offensive lineman Kayden Lyles to defense and give a heavy workload to walk-on redshirt freshman Matt Henningsen. Rand and Loudermilk should form a solid duo at end, and Bryson Williams has the talent to adequately replace Olive Sagapolu. Henningsen and Pfaff improved as last season progressed, and Isaiah Mullens could contribute after redshirting in 2018. Depth behind Williams at nose tackle remains a question mark.

GLASS-IS-HALF-FULL FORECAST

Rand makes a completely smooth return and Loudermilk becomes a more dominant force without as much attention focused his way. Henningsen continues progressing and shows why he was awarded a scholarship last season. Mullens adds even more depth at end, while true freshman Keeanu Benton starts his career ahead of schedule and provides a capable, promising backup behind Williams at nose tackle.

GLASS-IS-HALF-EMPTY FORECAST

Rand isn’t quite himself throughout his first year back after a major injury. Mullens still isn’t ready for meaningful playing time, and neither are any of the other freshmen on the roster at this position. The Badgers find themselves an injury away from being in a bad spot up front.

THE NUMBER

20 | Combined starts for freshmen Matt Henningsen, Kayden Lyles and Bryson Williams on the defensive line last season. Henningsen became the first walk-on since at least 1990 to start a season opener as a freshman.

This article originally ran on madison.com.

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