Former Badger Vince Biegel reflects on college career and his path to the NFL
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – We are just over a month away from the NFL Draft and there are quite a few Wisconsin Badgers prospects hoping to get a life-changing phone call on draft weekend. One former Badger, linebacker Vince Biegel, spent some time reflecting on his draft process and how proud he was to be a Wisconsin Badger.
“It (Wisconsin) instills great values in its players,” said Biegel. It took Biegel until later in his career to realize how special the University of Wisconsin was and how much of an impact the school had on him, both as a player and as a person.
Biegel is a man of integrity who values his family and friends greatly. He has a strong faith and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Throughout an interview with CBS 58, Biegel gave high praise for all of those aspects because he says that is what shaped him into the man he is today.
Biegel’s family breathes athletics. His father, Rocky, played football at Brigham Young University, while his grandpa played football at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. They were an important part in his love for the game.
“I always wanted to be like my dad. I thought it was the coolest thing that he played football at BYU and I was always really proud of that,” said Biegel.
One notable name that has been highly praised throughout Wisconsin football is former defensive coordinator and current Baylor University head coach Dave Aranda. Biegel still talks to Aranda to this day, whether it be about football or just about life in general.
“I don’t think that I would be the player that I am today without Dave,” Biegel said.
Biegel’s career at Wisconsin helped him prepare for the draft process and the NFL.
“I would say that there is no better place in the country from a development standpoint,” said Biegel. “They are able to turn out multiple NFL guys every single year. Why? It’s because they develop guys right away."
Biegel went through three different defensive coaches throughout his time at Wisconsin: Chris Ash, Dave Aranda and Justin Wilcox. He was able to learn multiple schemes at the college level, and what stood out was his ability to adjust to those schemes.
Biegel was invited to the Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama during his 2017 NFL Draft process. He still has his jersey hanging up in his office to this day. Biegel had former Chicago Bears head coach, John Fox, and the rest of their staff coach his Senior Bowl game.
“There were a lot of great guys there,” said Biegel. “It was cool to kind of discover some good players as well and also to be able to build friendships too."
After the Cotton Bowl, Biegel went straight to San Diego, California to start training for the draft. He was able to work with a team of coaches that prepared him for every single combine drill.
“Everything was so tactical from the nutrition standpoint, from a mental aspect,” said Biegel. “They’re bringing in psychological people to also work on your professional interview skills so you're not going into them unprepared.”
Biegel headed to Indianapolis a few months later for the NFL Combine. Each player was bunked with another prospect. Biegel’s roommate was former Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton.
The drill everyone looks forward to watching at the combine is the 40-yard-dash. That was the drill Biegel was most nervous for.
“You gotta put down a good 40 time,” said Biegel. “Everybody over exaggerates about the 40 but you gotta put a sexy 40 time.”
Biegel posted a 4.67 for his final 40-yard-dash time.
The drills Biegel was most looking forward to was the field work. He liked field work because it allowed him to show off his athleticism.
After the combine, the next month or so leading into the draft gives teams an opportunity to interview prospects they show interest in. Biegel enjoyed every minute of his draft experience.
The day all prospects wait for: the NFL Draft. Biegel was selected with the first pick in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers.
When Biegel received the phone call from Ted Thompson, that’s when his life changed. His hard work, the grind, all of it had paid off.
“It’s tears, of just reward, of the journey, of the sacrifices, the sacrifices of your parents, whatever they had to do,” said Biegel. “That phone call is great, but that phone call is just an opportunity, but what an opportunity those guys have.”
Wisconsin is flooded with talent in the NFL. Some heard their names called during the draft, others were signed undrafted.
“I want to bring up guys like Corey Clement, never got the phone call that day, I want to bring up guys like Dare Ogunbowale, never got the phone call that day. Those guys had earned everything. That’s why the University of Wisconsin players are different because they embrace the grind.”
Biegel is set to become a free agent this week. He’s been through it all, from injuries, to being traded, to being cut. But none of that has stopped him from playing football, and that's what makes him so resilient.
“I think the life lessons that you learn in the game of football supersede everything else. And whether I become a Pro Bowler or Hall of Famer or not, to me that’s secondary. The game of football has humbled me in so many aspects.”
The Badgers have several draft prospects, including players like Leo Chenel, Jack Sanborn and Jake Ferguson, hoping to get the opportunity of a lifetime, which is to go out there and play the game they love in the NFL.
“I urge these guys to stay consistent and enjoy the process,” Biegel said..
Biegel also mentioned that there is light at the end of the tunnel for these prospects.
“You’re not going to make it very long in the NFL if you don’t love the grind,” said Biegel.
Biegel’s draft process and hard work had all paid off.
His advice to current Badgers prospects? Embrace the grind.