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The Badgers' secondary will make or break the defense in 2012. The Badgers lost cornerback Antonio Fenelus and safety Aaron Henry, both All-Big Ten performers in 2011. Shelton Johnson and Marcus Cromartie return to their starting spots and must step up to replace the leadership lost from the graduation of Fenelus and Henry.
Peniel Jean and Devin Smith will compete for the open cornerback position. However, Smith is coming off multiple injuries and will hopefully be ready for fall camp. If Smith does get healthy, the Badgers will have a promising group at cornerback with Cromartie, Smith and Jean.
Shelton Johnson is entrenched at the strong safety position and is in no danger of losing his job. A solid overall player, Johnson will serve as the anchor for the secondary. Dezman Southward must improve his play in order to win the starting free safety spot. A talented player, Southward makes too many mental mistakes and must shore up his concentration to solidify the secondary.
The Badgers' secondary has plenty of talent and experience. If the starters can step up in 2012 and play solid football, the defense is going to be very good.