Michael Caputo Is the Badgers' Most Underrated Asset
This attention certainly is deserved, as Gordon is one of the most explosive offensive players in the country and a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.
However, a single player obviously can’t carry an entire football team, and the Badgers have several other players who could be huge impact performers in 2014.
One of these players is redshirt junior safety Michael Caputo, whose performance last season earned him an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection from the media.
Caputo hasn’t been getting all that much attention anyone who isn’t a Wisconsin fan, but he could very easily be one of the most important players on Gary Andersen’s team.
He made 12 starts last year for the Badgers and played in all 13 of their games, finishing second on the team with 63 total tackles. Caputo also saw action in 12 games while making one start during the 2012 season, which means he brings plenty of experience to the table.
Who would start at safety alongside Dezmen Southward was one of the biggest questions for the Badgers coming into 2013, and Caputo ended up thriving when he was asked to fill that spot.
With Southward departing to the NFL, Caputo will now be asked to play an even bigger role on defense in 2014.
It’s not exactly a secret that Wisconsin’s defensive backfield is fairly inexperienced, so having a veteran like Caputo to be an anchor while many of his teammates endure inevitable growing pains is huge for the Badgers.
Of course, Wisconsin also has sophomore cornerback Sojourn Shelton, who is coming off a tremendous freshman campaign, to provide a little experience to its defensive backfield. Shelton should be even better than he was in 2014, and his playmaking potential has earned him more recognition than Caputo heading into this year.
But while Caputo may lack the athleticism and star power that Shelton possesses, he still is unquestionably one the Badgers’ most invaluable assets.
He will be counted on to be rock steady for Wisconsin and to be the glue that holds the safety position together, with Peniel Jean, Austin Hudson, and Leo Musso all competing for the other starting safety spot.
Caputo isn’t a star and may be flying under the radar right now, but by season’s end, he might just end up being the Badgers’ most valuable defensive player.
If he manages to do that, the rest of the Big Ten won’t be overlooking him anymore.