January 16, 2008

Hayden playing well in Shrine practices

Wisconsin defensive tackle Nick Hayden is improving his draft stock during preparation for the East-West Shrine Game in Houston, Tex.

The Badger senior, who is expected to be the second UW player selected in April (cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu, who declared after his junior season, is projected to go first), is likely to start at tackle for the East squad when they take on the West this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.

Rivals.com Big Ten Producer Pat Tholey has been following the East team for the past three days and has noted Hayden in all three of his blogs from practice.

"Wisconsin's Nick Hayden made two good stops after he knocked a running back in the backfield for a loss and then batted a ball down a few plays later," Tholey reported Monday.

Tholey expects Hayden to join Kenny Iwebema, Richard Clebert and Kendall Langford as starters on the defensive line.

Hayden has been battling with Michigan offensive guard Adam Kraus for the majority of the week and at times, has bested his conference rival.

Joining Hayden in Houston is teammate Paul Hubbard, who after getting off to a slow start, is begging to showcase his skills for the scouts in attendance.

"Virginia Tech's Justin Harper and Wisconsin's Paul Hubbard both look the part of a NFL receiver, but haven't done anything to distinguish themselves from others on the practice field," Tholey reported Tuesday.

A day later, however, the 6-foot-4, 213-pound senior appeared to find his rhythm.

"Wisconsin wide receiver Paul Hubbard is looking better in drills," Tholey reported Wednesday. "He's running sharper routes and has shown better hands catching balls.

That's probably been his biggest weakness this week, inconsistency catching the ball."

Hubbard will have to prove to scouts his injured right knee is 100 percent. After going down in week two against UNLV, Hubbard was able to seven weeks later against Indiana.

Ikegwuonu update

According to numerous sources, Ikegwuonu has decided to sign with Drew Rosenhaus, one of the more recognizable agents in the sports world.

Some of Rosenhaus' current clients include Tommie Harris, Plaxico Burress, Chad Johnson, Willis McGahee, Santana Moss, Terrell Owens, Warren Sapp, Jeremy Shockey, Zach Thomas and Frank Gore.

Ikegwuonu's legal situation also has taken another turn. Already close to 14 months in progress, his trial, which was originally slated for Jan. 14, has been rescheduled for March 24.

Ikegwuonu has pleaded not guilty to charges of residential burglary and criminal trespass.

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