MADISON, Wis. -- Ask any of Michael Caputo's teammates or coaches, and the first word used to describe him is tough. It is perhaps his greatest quality on the football field for Wisconsin, where he is unafraid to stick his neck into a play and unleash a bone-rattling hit on any player who squeezes into the secondary.
Being tough has served Caputo well in his football career. Toughness allowed him to earn double-digit scholarship offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and West Virginia as a blue-collar safety from Imperial, Penn.
But toughness -- and a bit of stubbornness -- also comes with a price. Toughness led Caputo to play through pain others would not endure.
Toughness prompted him to tell doctors to postpone surgery so he could participate in last year's Rose Bowl despite a protruding disc in his spinal cord.
"It was pretty painful," Caputo said. "It got to the point where it was hard to walk a little bit sometimes. At that p...