Montee Ball's performance at the 2013 NFL Combine helped make him a second-round pick of the Denver Broncos.
- Invitations: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine | NFL.com Combine Coverage
After strong showings in their respective all-star games, six seniors from the Wisconsin football team will take the next step toward improving their draft stock when they head to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
Jared Abbrederis, Chris Borland, Ryan Groy, Jacob Pedersen, Dezmen Southward and James White all received invitations to the combine, which is set for Feb. 22-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The Badgers' contingent makes up one-sixth of the 36 total invitations extended to Big Ten players. It also matches Ohio State for the most invitees of any Big Ten team and makes UW one of 13 programs nationally to boast more than five invitations.
Abbrederis, Borland, Pedersen, Southward and White all received good reviews from their participation in the Senior Bowl last month, while Groy was well-received at the East-West Shrine Game.
Most Invitations, 2014 NFL Scouting Combine
Alabama - 12
LSU - 11
Florida State - 9
Notre Dame - 9
Florida - 8
Stanford - 8
Missouri - 7
North Carolina - 7
USC - 7
Baylor - 6
Ohio State - 6
Oregon - 6
Wisconsin - 6
2014 NFL Scouting Combine Invitations, Big Ten Teams
Wisconsin - 6
Ohio State - 6
Iowa - 5
Michigan State - 4
Michigan - 3
Nebraska - 3
Penn State - 3
Minnesota - 2
Illinois - 1
Indiana - 1
Northwestern - 1
Purdue - 1
In this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy previews Wisconsin's first games of the season, as it travels to the Sunshine State to participate in the USF-Wilson Demarini Tournament.
This weekend will certainly be a challenge. In fact, the entire spring will test our will. We'll be put under pressure day-in and day-out. There's no relief in this schedule. There are no gimmie games, or easy wins. Would you really want it any other way?
Galvanize. That's our word of the day. Sometimes it takes great pressure for things to truly come together. The more you face adversity, and survive, the more prepared and protected you'll be in the future. It's like battling the flu early in life, you're simply growing stronger, building your immune system, preparing your body to be healthier, stronger and more resilient the next time you're exposed. Sometimes you need a shock, jolt, or near miss to really get sparked into living.
Malcom Gladwell talks about this empowerment in "David and Goliath". He looks at the Luftwaffe Nazi bombings on London. The people of London actually grew stronger every time there was a near miss. Each bomb that dropped, that they survived, made them feel more resilient and invincible. Courage and resolve rose all over the country, because of the adversity they faced and overcame, head on.
So let's embrace the challenge of playing three games against top 25 teams this weekend. Sure Florida won 58 games last year, and made it to the World Series. South Florida has 11 NCAA appearances, an All-American pitcher who got them to the World Series, and wins more than 80 percent of their games at home. It's more fun being the underdog. Maybe we've been indoors for every practice this winter, maybe we haven't seen the sun shine yet, it only makes the opportunity more exciting.
- Photo Gallery; Badgers in Super Bowl XLVIII
You can't say Russell Wilson never saw this coming. The professional success that has followed Wilson's season at Wisconsin may have come as a surprise to some -- he's "too short" to be an NFL quarterback, remember -- but it certainly was not to Wilson.
"At the beginning of the year, I told the guys, 'Why not us?'" he said in the moments that followed a dominant 43-8 win for his Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.
Of course, Wilson's visions of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy go way to back to a time when his pro prospects were still murky. Speaking after a heartbreaking loss to Oregon in the 2012 Rose Bowl, Wilson said, "To lose the way we did, it's only going to make me stronger in the future. It's going to help me figure out something else, maybe, down the road. Maybe win a Super Bowl. You never know."
Now we know.
Wilson's Seahawks didn't just win -- they dominated. A spectacular defensive effort saw Seattle force four turnovers and snuff out one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history while Wilson went 18-for-26 through theair for 206 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. He also ran for 26 yards.
Those efforts made Wilson and teammates Chris Maragos and O'Brien Schofield the 11th, 12 and 13th former Badgers to claim a Super Bowl ring. Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell -- who guided UW to a Rose Bowl title and finished his career as the Badgers' all-time leading passer -- will get one, too.
On the other side, two-time UW All-American Montee Ball wrapped up his rookie campaign by rushing six times for 1 yard.
We are just about 24 hours away from Super Bowl XLVII. Take a spin around the web on the eve of the big game.
-- New York Daily News - Russell Wilson is the man on the run
-- New York Times - Russell Wilson, the Man Behind Center, Could Have Wound Up as a Second Baseman
-- Sports Illustrated - Poised and confident, Russell Wilson is ready for the Super Bowl
-- YouTube (video) - Montee Ball says "Go, Badgers!"
-- Chicago Tribune - From North Chicago to Super Bowl