The Wisconsin Badgers Football team has made its bones off getting under-the-radar talent. This year is no different, as three Badgers were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Nick Herbig (Steelers), Keeanu Benton (Steelers), and Joe Tippmann (Jets) were the three Badgers selected.
These three were highly touted coming out of high school, and it should come as no surprise that they played at a top-tier football school before being selected into the NFL.
Let's take a look at the football careers (so far) of these three rookies.
Three Rookies From the Wisconsin Badgers To Watch in the NFL (2023)
Nick Herbig (Outside Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Herbig hails from Kauai, Hawaii, where he was a top-tier high school player for Saint Louis High School in Honolulu, Hi.
Herbig was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He was a two-time all-state selection and won All-Hawaii Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2019. Herbig helped lead Saint Louis High School to four consecutive Open Division State Championships and earned an invitation to the 2020 Polynesian Bowl. He committed to the Badgers in 2019.
In three years playing for the Wisconsin Badgers, he had 134 tackles, 36 tackles for loss, and 21 sacks in 31 games played. The media named Herbig First-Team All-Big Ten, Second-Team All-American, Walter Camp Second-Team All-American, and Associated Press third-team All-American.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Herbig in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Keeanu Benton (Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Benton attended Janesville Craig High School in Janesville, Wisc., where he was a standout football player. Media named Benton first-team All-State as a senior, all-region, and All-Big Eight Conference. In addition, the Janesville Gazette named him All-Area Player of the Year. He committed to play at Wisconsin in 2018.
In his four years with the Wisconsin Badgers Football Team, Benton had 81 tackles and nine sacks in 39 games played. In 2021, the conference named Benton All-Big Ten second-team and All-Big Ten honorable mention. Last season, the conference named him All-Big Ten Third Team.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Benton in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Joe Tippmann (Center, New York Jets)
Tippman was a four-star recruit at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. The media named him Indiana's Mr. Football offensive lineman as a senior and Indiana Football Coach Association All-State Top 50 as a junior and senior. He won first-team all-state by Associated Press and First-Team All-Summit athletic conference and won league MVP as a senior.
As a senior, Tippman was team captain and helped lead Bishop Dwenger's Class 4A State Championship. Tippmann committed to Wisconsin in 2017.
In his final two years at Wisconsin, Tippmann started at center, where he was an All-Big Ten honorable mention. He helped pave the way for Wisconsin Badgers Running Back Braelon Allen to have back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
The New York Jets selected Tippmann in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Wisconsin Badgers Football Is Top-Notch at Developing NFL-Ready Talent
As a football program, the Wisconsin Badgers have done a great job of developing NFL talent. The Steelers have four defensive players on their roster who went to Wisconsin, and it's because Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin says it's a stylistic match between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh. Tomlin met with reporters after the NFL Draft and said the two teams play a similar brand of football.
"Sometimes a place like Wisconsin is a stylistic match. I've always had a lot of respect for Jim Leonard their former coordinator. They do a lot of similar things that we do and so it makes it an easy evaulation. It's less speculation in terms of what they might be able to do in our system of football," Via the Steelers YouTube.
Tippmann, meanwhile, gets to play with legendary Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. You can't ask to learn from a better teammate or player than Rodgers.
These three guys have played exemplary football throughout their high school and college careers but now get to play for three historic franchises.
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