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Bobby April III hired as Wisconsin Badgers' outside linebackers coach

Bobby April III hired as Wisconsin Badgers' outside linebackers coach

More than seven weeks after Oregon State announced Tim Tibesar as its next defensive coordinator, the University of Wisconsin has finally found a replacement for its former outside linebackers coach.

The Badgers announced the hiring of outside linebackers coach Bobby April III on Wednesday, who most recently coached linebackers for the Buffalo Bills from 2015-16.

"What's always appealed to me about Wisconsin football is the way the players play with a chip on their shoulder and how tough mentally and physically they are," April said in a UW release. "The attitude of the program and the fans, the excitement of the city is incomparable."

Before his two seasons in Buffalo, April spent two years with the New York Jets, serving as a quality control assistant in 2013 before being promoted to linebackers coach the next season.

His first NFL job came in Philadelphia under Andy Reid, where he was a quality control assistant with the Eagles' secondary from 2011-12.

April began his coaching career as a student assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette in 2004 and also served as a graduate assistant at Tulane (2005-06), the inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Portland State (2007-09) and the secondary coach and special teams coordinator at Nicholls State (2010).

"We're excited to add Bobby to the staff," UW coach Paul Chryst said in the release. "He brings great knowledge and passion for the game of football. His experience will help our players grow and is a great fit for our defensive staff room."

April's father, Bobby April Jr., is a former special teams coordinator for the Buffalo Bills who coached current UW defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard during his first three years as a player in the NFL from 2005-07. April Jr. won the NFL Special Teams Coach of the Year Award in 2004 and 2008.

April III will now assist a defense that ranked in the top four nationally in both scoring defense and rushing defense each of the past three years.

UW lost both starters -- Garret Dooley and Leon Jacobs -- at outside linebacker, both of which are NFL prospects and earned invites to the NFL Combine this month.

The Badgers also produced three NFL draft picks at outside linebacker the previous two years -- Joe Schobert in 2016 and T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel in 2017.

Andrew Van Ginkel, Zack Baun, Tyler Johnson and Christian Bell will likely complete for UW's two starting outside linebacker spots this season. Overall, the Badgers are replacing seven starters on defense.

"The defense speaks for itself over the past five seasons," April III said in the release. "It's been dominant. I just want to come in here and help it get better. The players are young and hungry, which is exciting to see."

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Six former University of Wisconsin players will be among the 326 invitees: tight end Troy Fumagalli, inside linebacker Jack Cichy, outside linebacker Garret Dooley, outside linebacker Leon Jacobs, cornerback Nick Nelson and safety Natrell Jamerson.

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