Farrar-finding home at OLB

UW linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel, left, and Arrington Farrar celebrate after sacking Maryland's Max Bortenschlager last season.

Arrington Farrar describes his time in Madison as a Tour de Wisconsin.

The highly ranked prospect from Atlanta, projected as a potential star at outside linebacker when he committed to the University of Wisconsin on National Signing Day in 2015, spent his first two seasons at safety before switching to inside linebacker last year. Now a 6-foot-2, 249-pound senior, Farrar's trying to settle into a home at the position where many thought he would begin his career.

"I've been shuffled around," Farrar said. "I did a Tour de France, Tour de Wisconsin — outside linebacker, safety, inside, back to outside. Leon (Jacobs) did it last year. He did a loop, too. He did a tour."

Farrar said he doesn't feel pressure to replicate Jacobs, whose path included stints at outside linebacker, inside linebacker and fullback before he enjoyed a breakout senior season off the edge of UW's front seven. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected him in the seventh round of this year's NFL Draft.

Farrar isn't a projected starter like Jacobs was at this time a year ago. Currently fighting for a place with Christian Bell to be the Badgers' fourth outside linebacker, Farrar's simply trying to find what he's been searching for every year - a consistent role in UW's defense.

"Same pressure that it's always been," Farrar said. "Trying to do what I'm supposed to do, fit where I fit in, just trying to find a spot. Same thing every year.

"I'm just trying to go after it every play. Hey, that's it. Just control the controllables."

Farrar recorded six tackles in limited playing time as UW's No. 4 player at inside linebacker last season. Regardless of how much he sees the field during his final year, he's already filling a role as a mentor for the Badgers' younger outside linebackers.

Marty Strey, Jaylan Franklin and Mason Platter often FaceTime Farrar when they need help on freshman quizzes handed out by position coach Bobby April III. During practice, Farrar's vast knowledge of the defense qualifies him to help young inside linebackers and safeties as well.

"You've got to," Farrar said of helping UW's younger players. "You kind of have to. I'm with them the most. Anyone would do it. That's what happened when I was a freshman. ... I think that's just the culture of Wisconsin.

"To be honest, it's probably been the best thing (to change positions) because now I know everything. I know everything but the D-line. So if I'm out there with the young safeties, I don't really have to worry about them. I can help them out almost, or if something happens with the inside backers, I know what's going on. If something's not being said, I can fill in the gaps."

Farrar said he now feels comfortable at outside linebacker after making the move this spring, but he's still ironing out some of the fine details of the position.

Will it be enough for him to see consistent playing time in his final year? With just a couple weeks until the Badgers kick off their season against Western Kentucky at Camp Randall Stadium, he's still trying to answer that question himself.

"If you're going to ask me about the rotation, I don't know," Farrar said. "... I'm giving it all I got."


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