Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


O.B. boosts draft stock with defensive MVP

This weekend, dubbed “Badger Weekend,” was one of the busiest during the 2009-10 academic year in terms of total events taking place in Madison.

It was also one of the most successful.

In the Kohl Center alone there were three thrilling Wisconsin victories as the men’s and women’s hockey teams combined with the men’s basketball squad to go 3-1-1 in the building from Friday through Sunday.


On the west side of campus, the wrestling team knocked off previously undefeated Indiana at the Field House and the men’s and women’s swimming and tennis teams had varying levels of success at the Natatorium and Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

Finally, in the Badger Track Classic, the men’s and women’s track teams got an excellent warm up for next weekend’s Wisconsin Elite Invitational.

Yet, none of the teams mentioned so far featured the most successful Badger this weekend.

Of all those wearing the motion ‘W’ on “Badger Weekend,” the one who had the most profitable weekend was not on campus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In fact, he was not even in the state of Wisconsin this weekend.

Down in Orlando, Fla. — where the high temperature was 76 degrees Saturday afternoon — former UW defensive end O’Brien Schofield did his best to boost his draft stock in the 2010 East-West Shrine Game.

Returning to the Florida Citrus Bowl — the site of his final game in a Wisconsin uniform — Schofield, who played outside linebacker in the game, earned defensive MVP honors as the East squad defeated the West 13-10.

Schofield recorded three solo tackles in the game (each of which came in the second half), while intercepting a pass to stop the West’s first possession after they had driven 33 yards from their own 23-yard line to the East 44-yard line.

Just under five minutes into the game, Schofield picked off a third down pass over the middle from BYU’s Max Hall and returned it for two yards. Schofield didn’t really do anything special on the interception, but as Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl of ESPN’s Scouts Inc. pointed out, “he made the routine play look routine, which is a good step.”

While the fans at home didn’t see Schofield’s interception (ESPN2 was still airing the end of the Western Kentucky-Middle Tennessee State basketball game at the time) and his name was even spelled wrong by the local paper (it’s Schofield, not Shofield), those who really matter — NFL scouts — saw what Schofield did.

In fact, they’ll probably see it again and again leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft in April.

That’s because Schofield, despite having just finished up a monster season at defensive end for the Badgers, is projected to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. The move is intriguing, if for no other reason than because Schofield once was a linebacker when he originally arrived in Madison.

As Schofield gets reacquainted with his former position, scouts across the NFL will be watching.

Projected as a mid- to late-round pick, the 6-foot-2, 242-pound native of Great Lakes, Ill., had impressed practice observers all week before the Shrine Game. He was said to have struggled early in the week before excelling near the end.

Even Todd McShay of ESPN Scouts Inc. was impressed.

“He’s reacting and just playing now instead of needing that split second to think about what he’s supposed to be doing,” McShay wrote of Schofield. “He has good, quick feet; maybe the quickest feet on anyone here, and that will help him. Give him lots of credit for hanging in there in what had to be a frustrating week at times and for getting better and better as the week went on.”

When the game began, Schofield continued to improve his draft stock.

In their running game blog, Muench and Weidl, commented twice on the play of Schofield. They noted he looked particularly comfortable as the East squad’s SAM linebacker.

“East outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield (Wisconsin) has been playing off the ball, but he was just over the tight end as the SAM linebacker in that last series and he just looks more comfortable in that role,” they wrote. “He’s more comfortable over the tight end, but he’s been impressive during the week as well with the strides he’s made playing off the line.”

In an interview posted on, Schofield had this to say during the week:

“I came out here today to show that I can stand up and play on the outside. It’s been a great time showing my skills and that I can make that transition. I’m gonna show I’m a coverage linebacker,” he said. “I’m likely [going to] have to stand up and play strong side linebacker and I feel I can work in any scheme.

“But I would love to put my hand down and just get up and go.”

In the same interview, Schofield noted he had been contacted by scouts from Carolina, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta and New England.

Clearly, there’s no shortage of interest in the nation’s runner up in terms of tackles for loss.

Based on recent interviews and the way his career went at Wisconsin — switching from linebacker to defensive end and working his tail off to become among the nation’s best at the position — I like the odds of Schofield finding a spot on an NFL roster next fall.

Jordan is a senior majoring in journalism and political science. Would you want Schofield on your favorite NFL team? E-mail Jordan with your thoughts at [email protected].

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