December 21, 2007
Will Ikegwuonu follow Beckum's path?
MADISON, Wis.-For the second time in his football career, Travis Beckum gave a verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin.
A finalist for the 2007 John Mackey Award, the junior All-American announced Thursday he would return for his final year at UW.
"We're all thrilled to have Travis returning for his senior season," head coach Bret Bielema said in a release. "I always encourage our players to explore the options they have, and we give them all the help we can. Travis saw that the best situation for him is to remain a Badger and I support that and, obviously, I'm very excited to have him with us for his final year."
Beckum, along with junior cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu and two other UW players whose names were not disclosed, submitted information to the NFL College Advisory Committee to determine where they might be selected in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Both (Beckum and Ikegwuonu) were not listed as first round selections in many of the mock drafts released recently. Though it is not known what information Beckum or Ikegwuonu received, Bielema said last week the NFL is very accurate in its feeback on draft position.
"We went through this whole process with Brian Calhoun and the feedback was very accurate," Bielema said. "They reported back to us that Brian would be a third round pick and that's where he went."
Because he did not use a redshirt option at UW, this was the first year Beckum, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, was eligible for the draft.
Another year to add size and experience are two factors that may have played into Beckum's decision.
"Playing at Wisconsin in front of the greatest fans in college football is something I want to continue doing for one more year," Beckum said in a release. "I looked into my options and found the best one is right here with this university.
"I'm enjoying being a Badger and can't wait for our bowl game in Tampa, as well as for next season. I'm glad this decision is behind me and I'm looking forward to another year at Camp Randall."
The focus now turns to Ikegwuonu, who at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, has the prototypical body for an NFL cornerback.
The junior is tied for second in the Big Ten Conference in passes defended and was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick.
However, after an inconsistent season, Ikegwuonu, who has turned in sub-4.4 times in the 40-yard dash, would figure to test well in the NFL combine, one reason that could prolong his decision.
Tennessee down two for Outback Bowl
ESPN's Chris Low is reporting Tennessee will be without two of its defensive starters for the Outback Bowl.
According to the report, junior tackle Demonte Bolden and sophomore linebacker Rico McCoy failed to meet the necessary academic requirements and will be ineligible against Wisconsin on Jan. 1.
Bolden started in 12 of the Vols' 13 games this season, while McCoy started all 13 games at weak-side linebacker. He was Tennessee's second leading tackler with 106 total hits, including 4.5 for losses.
Senior J.T. Mapu is expected to replace Bolden, while sophomore Dorian Davis and junior Ellix Wilson are candidates to fill in for McCoy.
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