When Wisconsin squares off with Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Jan. 2, followers of the Brookfield East football program will notice a few familiar names on both sides.
Three former Spartans are on the rosters of the Badgers and Broncos, as junior defensive end Alec James and redshirt freshman punter Connor Allen play for Wisconsin, while Mike Caliendo is a freshman offensive lineman at Western Michigan.
After missing the Big Ten Championship with a high ankle sprain suffered against Minnesota, James is expected to play in the Cotton Bowl. James has 23½, 3½ tackles for a loss, 3-1/5 sacks and a forced fumble in 12 games this season and was recently named honorable mention All-Big Ten.
Allen has yet to attempt a kick or punt for the Badgers this season. He redshirted in 2015 after coming to Wisconsin following a successful career at Brookfield East in which he made 18 of 25 field-goal attempts and was All-Greater Metro Conference as a kicker and punter as a sophomore, junior and senior.
A first-team All-State pick and the Greater Metro Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2015, Caliendo is redshirting for the Broncos.