The University of Wisconsin's defensive line will look significantly different next season.

Senior Garrett Rand announced Saturday, Jan. 9, he was stepping away from football due to injuries, which will leave the defense without one of its most experienced players.

"After a lot of thought and careful consideration, I've decided it is in my best interest to step away from football due to numerous injuries and their potential long-term impact." Rand wrote in a social media post.

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"This is the hardest life decision I have ever made because for most of my life, I have lived and breathed football. First and foremost, I would like to say thank you to my family for all of their support. I would also like to say thank you to all of my coaches, especially coach Paul Chryst, and the academic staff. It was the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of the Wisconsin football team and I am proud to call myself a Badger.

"I will always Cherish my time at this university. The bond and the relationships I've formed over the last five years are irreplaceable and I am forever grateful for everyone who's been a part of this experience."

Rand started six of seven games this season, missing only the Michigan game. He finishes his career with 47 games played, 58 total tackles, four for loss and a sack. Fellow senior defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk also left the program to make a run at an NFL career.

Seniors had the opportunity to come back to UW after the NCAA decided the 2020 season wouldn't count against players' eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Rand and Loudermilk gone, the Badgers will be relying on players such as Matt Henningsen and James Thompson Jr. at defensive end. Both of them figured to be in the rotation this season, but suffered season-ending injuries.


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