Just because he arrived at the University of Wisconsin as a walk-on from Wautoma doesn’t mean wide receiver Jared Abbrederis did not expect greatness.
So when Abbrederis got the news on Monday he was a first-team All-Big Ten Conference wide receiver, he was humbled and excited, but definitely not surprised.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” he said after practice on Tuesday. “It was a blessing and I’m grateful to have that, but I’ve been working hard ever since I got here.
“As a player, you’ve just got to try and expect that, you’ve got to expect greatness. But if it doesn’t happen, it’s obviously fine, you’ve just got to keep working.”
More importantly for Abbrederis and the Badgers, he has been cleared to play in the Big Ten Conference title game on Saturday night against Nebraska after suffering what he described as a mild concussion in last week’s game against Penn State.
When asked if he suffered a concussion after getting hit on the fourth-down pass that was intercepted late in the fourth quarter, Abbrederis said, “A little bit.”
Abbrederis also suffered a concussion on Sept. 8 against Oregon State which caused him to miss the following game against Utah State.
“No, I don’t take too much into that,” he said when asked about the concern of having two concussions in a season.
Just like running back Montee Ball was cleared to play against Nebraska in the Sept. 30 game after dealing with concussion symptoms the previous week, Abbrederis said his symptoms were light and he expected to be ready this week.
“I knew right away I’d probably be able to go,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad.”
Abbrederis said he hopes to return punts as well, if the coaches let him. He had one of the best games of his career in the 42-39 victory over Michigan State in the Big Ten title game a year ago with 217 all-purpose yards. That included three catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, an 11-yard punt return and five kickoff returns for 141 yards.
That game provided a glimpse of the greatness to come, although Abbrederis is far from satisfied.
“One of my goals (this season) was to be one of the top wide receivers in the Big Ten,” he said. “I’ve got another two games, so I’ve just got to keep on going. I want to keep getting better every day.”