By Tom Lea
One thing was evident in regards to Mike Taylor's sophomore season. It got better as he became more comfortable with his recovering knee. He looked as though he had regained his speed, his agility and knack for making a big play.
If you're a Badger fan, that should have you really excited as we inch toward the start of the 2011 season. Bottom line, when Taylor is healthy he's an All-Big Ten caliber player as evidenced by his consensus honorable mention selection a season ago.
Now, with a season loaded with expectations approaching, UW's defense is only going to be as good as it's health. With Chris Borland returning from a serious shoulder injury that required surgeries and the loss of his sophomore season, it's clear there is a high ceiling for the linebacking core to succeed. But knowing the long list of injury problems with both Borland and Taylor, it's defense, particularly the linebacker unit, is somewhat contingent on the way those key players are able to stay healthy.
Assuming Taylor is able to stay healthy, as he proved a season ago, UW will have one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten. Now that he's as far removed from his injured knee, though that's always something to take into account, it seems as though Taylor will be in line for a big year as a junior.
And if he has a big year, it probably means the UW defense is having a great amount of success.
UP NEXT: No. 10 on our list will undoubtedly be one of the team's leaders in 2010. He has an NFL body at a position that allows him to make plays on a consistent basis.