Biadasz set to start for Badgers in college debut
By John Kemmeter
Amherst native and former Amherst High School standout Tyler Biadasz is expected to be in the starting lineup for his first game on the University of Wisconsin football team Friday, Sept. 1.
The redshirt freshman earned a starting job on the offensive line at center for the Badgers, who will host Utah State University at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison at 8 p.m. Friday.
“It’s very exciting,” said Biadasz. “It’s an opportunity I’ve been waiting for.”
“I’m very proud of him,” said Amherst football head coach Mark Lusic. “He’s earned everything he’s gotten, and he works his tail off.
“He’s a wonderful person, he’s got a great football IQ, and it’s great to see one of your own getting an opportunity to play in the Big Ten,” he said. “He’ll be ready for the moment, he’s wanted this for a long time, so I’m proud that he’s actually getting the opportunity to fulfill his dream.”
In high school at Amherst, Biadasz broke into the starting lineup as a freshman at offensive tackle and defensive end for the Falcons in 2012, when the team finished 13-0 and won the WIAA Division 5 State Title for the first time in program history.
Biadasz was named First Team All-State by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) on defense and Honorable Mention All-State at offensive tackle as a junior when Amherst finished as the Division 5 State Runner-up, and then was a First Team All-State selection on the defensive line and Honorable Mention All-State selection at offensive tackle again as a senior.
He also was selected as the Tim Krumrie Award winner as the top defensive lineman in the state as a senior, when he finished with 70 tackles and seven sacks, as the Falcons finished 14-0 overall and won the Division 5 State Title.
“He’s one of the best that I’ve ever coached in my life, that’s for sure,” said Lusic. “I go back and watch films to prepare for other games, and you forget how good he really was.
“Sometimes you take him for granted, but I knew as a freshman that he had a chance to play in the Big Ten, and by sophomore year, I knew for sure he would be in the Big Ten,” he said. “He had a helluva career, his class is the winningest class in school history, went to state three years, two out of the four years they won state, and he continued to grow as a person and as a player.
“Every year he got better and better and better and better, and by senior year he was very, very tough on both sides of the ball and became a tremendous leader,” he said. “His leadership skills really grew as the seasons went on, and him and (current Wisconsin teammate) Garrett (Groshek) are the best leaders I’ve ever had in my life.”
Prior to his senior year at Amherst, Biadasz accepted a scholarship offer to play football at Wisconsin, where he was expected to play on the defensive line.
However, that changed before his freshman year at Madison.
“They recruited him as defense, but once you saw his feet, I had a feeling that they’d move him to O-line,” said Lusic. “When he was a senior in April of 2016, we went to spring ball, and (Wisconsin) offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph grabbed him and said, ‘hey, you watch the O-line all day.’
“And I think Tyler got the first inkling that he was getting moved from D-line to O-line, and we kind of busted his chops, saying, ‘hey, you’re going to be a center soon,’” he said. “And he was like, ‘no I’m not.’
“And now he’s a center and he’s fully accepted that role and he loves it now, there’s no other spot he’d rather be,” he said. “He tells me all of the time that he could care less about defense, but at that time it was just funny to hear him. He had his heart set on defense, and then Joe Rudolph kind of broke that dream real quick in April, watching spring ball.”
“It was a little bit of an adjustment last year in the summer,” said Biadasz. “But going through the season last year, I really got used to it, and now I like playing center.
“Once I came (to Madison), I thought it was a position for me, my type of player,” he said. “I’m adjusting to it really good, and I’m just striving to be great.”
As a true freshman last fall, Biadasz also made the transition from playing in high school at Amherst to practicing in the Big Ten.
During the season, he worked his way up to become the center for the Badgers’ No. 2 offense, although he ended up not playing in any games in order to keep his redshirt intact.
“By the end of last year’s fall camp, I got used to the speed of the game,” said Biadasz. “And then I got put in with the (second team), and I traveled for more than half of the year last year.
“We faced the (No.) 1 defense almost every day, so I got adjusted to the speed pretty quickly,” he said.
Going into his redshirt freshman season, Biadasz was working with the Badgers’ first team at center by the end of spring practice in April, with returning starting center Michael Dieter moving over to guard to help fill in for injuries.
When Wisconsin training camp opened in June, it was announced that Dieter would move outside to left tackle to replace All-American Ryan Ramczyk, the former Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) standout and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) transfer who was selected in the First Round of the NFL Draft in April, with Biadasz stepping into the starting role at center.
The 6-3, 316-pound Biadasz held on to the starting job throughout preseason camp, and is scheduled to be the only true or redshirt freshman in the starting lineup for the Badgers when they open the season against Utah State Friday night.
“It’s really exciting,” said Biadasz. “These guys are really great guys, our guards and our tackles are really good communicators, and they’re always willing to help you get better.
“In this group, you always have (each other’s) backs,” he said. “So, it’s really fun.”
Also at Wisconsin is Biadasz’ longtime friend and former Amherst teammate Groshek, who spent his redshirt season at quarterback last year before he was moved this season to tailback, where Biadasz said he is adjusting well to pass blocking and reading holes from his new spot in the backfield as a redshirt freshman.
The Badgers return 17 starters from last year’s team that finished 11-3 overall, and open this season ranked ninth in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, after they won the Big Ten West Division Title last season to advance to the Big Ten Championship Game for the fourth time in six years.
“I want to strive for greatness,” said Biadasz. “I want to achieve a lot of our goals this season, and have a really successful season.”
Biadasz is also excited to have his first college game at home so his can family can come down to Madison to see him play for Wisconsin, which has had 24 offensive linemen selected in the NFL Draft since 1993, including nine since 2011.
“My family means the world to me,” said Biadasz. “It’s really important to me, and it’s important for my family.
“I’ve been blessed with my talents and everything,” he said. “And I’m just looking to keep achieving and not let me talents go to waste at all.”
“The sky’s the limit,” said Lusic. “We call it ‘O-line U,’ they send a lot of good players to the next level, so to play for Wisconsin as a redshirt freshman, that’s tremendous.
“And he gets all of the credit for how hard he works,” he said. “It was a great honor coaching him, and I expect him to get better every week, and every year.”