Sconnie Sports Talk

Top 10 players to watch for in 2016: Leo Musso

Wisconsin Badgers defensive back Leo Musso (19) on the bench during an NCAA college football game against the South Florida Bulls Saturday, September 27, 2014, in Madison, Wis. The Badgers won 27-10. (Photo by David Stluka)


Wisconsin safety Leo Musso has played in 38 games and made Academic All-Big Ten honors during his three seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers. Musso was a two-star recruit from Waunakee High School as a running back. In his high school career, he rushed for 5,531 yards and 87 touchdowns, and Rivals ranked him the number 8 player in Wisconsin. The Associated Press and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association recognized him as first-team all-state, and he was awarded the Elroy Hirsch Running Back of the Year Award. In his senior year, he rushed for 2,398 yards and 39 touchdowns. After receiving offers from schools such as Pittsburgh, South Dakota State and Northern Illinois, Musso accepted his offer to attend Wisconsin in late January 2012.

Musso is looking to strengthen his role as a defensive leader in the 2016 season, as the position has really opened up with former starters Michael Caputo and Tanner McEvoy graduating.

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“A big thing I want to improve on is how I am as a leader and how I conduct myself,” Musso said last Sunday at the Badgers annual media day.

Musso, a senior from Waunakee, Musso has made 34 tackles and three interceptions in his Wisconsin career and saw limited action towards the end of last season. stated that this summer offseason helped him improve his overall playing performance.

The 186-pound safety notably gained a lot of muscle over the summer and has put himself in position to compete in the Big Ten. At this point, Musso and D’Cota Dixon are expected to be the starting safeties.

“As a team, we had a great offseason,” Musso said. “We really took everything that the coaches said to heart through meetings or fieldwork and weight room work. We really made sure we tackled everything.”

Musso and Dixon are also under the leadership of a new secondary coach in Jim Leonhard, a former All-American safety for UW. Leonhard’s guidance should help Musso especially, as the senior plays safety similarly to how Leonhard played during his years in Madison.

“Everything that man says I try to absorb and put into my game,” Musso said about Leonhard.

Though probable, it is still not determined if Musso and Dixon will be the starters in the Badgers season opener against LSU. Other safeties in the mix are sophomore Arrington Farrar and junior Joe Ferguson. Freshman safeties include Seth Currens, Eric Burrell and Patrick Johnson.

Will Musso be able to nail down the free safety position? With only 22 days until the showdown against LSU, we should know very soon.

Photo courtesy of UW-Madison Athletics.