February 6, 2009

Kohout, Gilbert prepare for spring ball

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin defensive line prospect and early enrollee Jordan Kohout admitted he paid attention to the current situation regarding the Badgers defensive line throughout the previous season.

Why wouldn't he. According to Rivals.com, Kohout is the 17th-best defensive tackle prospect in the United State and Wisconsin's top player.

Knowing Mike Newkirk, Matt Shaughnessy and Jason Chapman had exhausted their eligibility, Kohout knows an opportunity exists to see the field early in his career.

But, he also knows there are older guys on the roster that have paid their dues and are likely next in line.

"I work with Patrick Butrym a little bit," Kohout said at signing day. "I don't want to sound like I'm going to start over these older guys, but I work with him everyday and everyday we are working on something together.

"I'm picking it up pretty quickly. When I was younger, me and my dad did a lot of footwork stuff so it allows me to adapt pretty quickly to footwork."

In this new class, UW head coach Bret Bielema received letters of intent from five defensive line prospects.

Kohout and Shelby Harris are the top two players in Wisconsin, David Gilbert is a four-star end from Florida, Pat Muldoon is a highly regarded player from Ohio and Dippel is one of the state of Wisconsin's five best.

"David and then Jordan, who are here (on campus), it will be great to have them in spring football," Bielema said at his signing day presser. "Pat Muldoon is a strong side defensive end, but a guy that has a lot of potential. So it was something that we really, really emphasized in addition to Shelby Harris, but you never really know until those guys get here what you're going to get.

"But it has been a point of emphasis."

With three of last years four starters on the line gone, reloading a position allowed nearly four yards a rush from opponents and 133.8 rushing yards per game was a must.

The Badgers have a handful of players, J.J. Watt, Dan Moore, Jeff Stehle and Butrym to name a few, that have been through the grind a few times, and are likely to get a majority of reps in the fall.

Still, with Kohout and Gilbert on campus already, the spring practice reps will be nothing but beneficial.

"People want to characterize me as a rush end," Gilbert, who has added 13 pounds of weight since he arrived on campus due largely in part to recovering from a minor knee injury, said. "I was 220, but cause I only weigh 215 now, people want to characterize me as a rush end.

"I feel like every aspect of the game was just as important. If my run game was weak, I would work to pick that up. I do like the pass rush, but I like tackles just as much as sacks."

Kouhout added:

"My only expectation that I can have can be for myself," he said. "I expect every day to go in there and give 100 percent in the weight room, in conditioning and in the classroom. I'm already 270, but we'll see what happens.

"I can gain a lot of weight and get faster and stronger which I surely will before fall camp starts. Whatever the coaches think is the best will happen."

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