Wisconsin Football: What You Need to Know About Badgers' TE Jacob Pedersen
A good tight end is the Swiss Army knife of any football team. They are expected to block, catch, run and oftentimes play special teams.
Versatility is the key, and every Saturday Jacob Pedersen finds himself wearing many different hats.
The redshirt junior has been a productive member of two record-setting offensive units and looks to join a long line of excellent Badger tight ends. Like Lance Kendricks, Travis Beckum and Owen Daniels before him, the Michigander benefits from an offense that values its tight ends.
As a result, Pedersen's contributions are seen, heard and felt on every Badger gameday.
He Was Lightly Recruited
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
No. 48 was barely a 2-star athlete in 2009.
But that's what Wisconsin likes in its every-down players like Pedersen.
According to Rivals.com, Pedersen only drew an offer from one other school: Eastern Michigan University. He decided to spurn the Eagles for the Badgers and redshirted his freshman season.
That recruiting class also included standouts Montee Ball and Chris Borland.
He Has Improved Every Year
Jacob Pedersen runs through OSU
From 2010 to 2011, Pedersen saw his stock grow like Google in almost every major category.
He quadrupled his touchdowns, going from 2 to 8.
His receptions went from single digits to 30, and his receiving yards more than doubled as a result. His per game receiving average ballooned from 10.2 yards to 25.4.
Overall, Pedersen went from afterthought to a legitimate threat. He is armed with deceptive speed that carries a prototypical build of 6'4" and 242 pounds. Most importantly, Pedersen provided sure hands in tough situations, including a critical two-point conversion in the Big Ten Championship game.
He Is Not Under the Radar Anymore
Mark Cunningham/Getty Images
Pedersen is no longer a secret weapon. Last year, his name got lost in the discussion as a multitude of Wisconsin offensive stars took center stage. The tight end seemed happy to wait in the wings and make defenses look foolish.
That's not the case any more.
Pedersen was just named to the 2012 Mackey Award Watch List, which is awarded to the best tight end in the country.
His role is only destined only to become more prominent as new quarterbacks will be searching for a safety blanket when the pressure is on. As long as Pedersen continues to create mismatches while still being content as a cog in the running game, the Wisconsin offense should benefit greatly.