When the Wisconsin Badgers played in the 2017 Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, Tyler Biadasz had the opportunity to meet Travis Frederick. Still a true freshman at the time, Biadasz could only hope to come close to honoring the legacy that his fellow Wisconsin native left behind at center. He had no idea how similar their paths would turn out to be.
Four years later, after a successful Wisconsin career of his own, Biadasz was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round after Dallas traded up to acquire him. He'll be joining the Cowboys in the same offseason in which Frederick retired from a likely Hall of Fame career with Dallas.
"We used to watch so much film on Travis of when he was in college and when he was a Cowboy," said Biadasz, who isn't running away from the comparison. "I try to mold [my game] like his. He's one of the greats. He's an animal. I try to play just like that. I think our body types are very similar."
Like Frederick before him, Biadasz anchored a Wisconsin offensive line that leaned on the running game perhaps more successfully than any program in the nation. The Badgers' starting running back, Jonathan Taylor, rushed for over 6,000 yards in just three seasons running behind Biadasz.
"I take a lot of pride in that," the fourth-rounder said. "We knew JT's success would be our success. We just wanted to be the best O-Line in the nation."
NFL teams don't run offenses like Wisconsin's in 2020, but the Cowboys have invested heavily in running back Ezekiel Elliott, and the Dallas O-Line is expected to set the stakes each game. Biadasz said that Frederick's work ethic is part of being an offensive lineman from Wisconsin.
"We have a grittiness to us," he said. "We work very hard. We know a lot of the success is in our hands. We take pride in that."
No matter where a player is from, the void left by Frederick's retirement is a large one, and the question Cowboys fans want to know is whether Biadasz is ready to take his old starting position. The young center didn't exactly dodge the question.
"I'm just going to be the best version of me," he said. "I have really high goals and starting is one of them."