University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema’s list of true freshmen he expects to play this season — which could still fluctuate — contained one mild surprise in running back Vonte Jackson. He missed almost his entire senior year at Kenosha Bradford with a torn ACL suffered in the first half of the first game.
The Badgers also have plenty of depth at running back, but Bielema would like to use Jackson’s overall athleticism on special teams.
“He’s got one of those bodies — athletically he can run very fast, plays with good balance, pretty smart kid,” Bielema said. “Those kind of guys we can’t get enough of.”
The other freshmen are wide receiver Reggie Love, center-guard Dan Voltz and Russell. Bielema said the coaches also are considering cornerback Reggie Mitchell.
Linebacker Vince Biegel will likely depend on how soon he can return from a foot injury.
• Bielema said Stave has gone on scholarship, something that was in the works anyway but apparently accelerated due to some roster changes. Sophomore quarterback Joe Brennan has decided where he wants to transfer, but Bielema declined to name the school.
• Linebacker A.J. Fenton has been out for about three days with a back problem that is causing numbness in his legs. “He’s had a few doctor’s appointments,” Bielema said. “They’re going to give him some things our guys have had in the past with back issues. Hopefully, he’ll get back some point next week.”
• Senior Mike Taylor was held out of the scrimmage as the coaches continue to be cautious with him. He is returning from hip surgery and also has had hamstring soreness. Bielema said junior Chris Borland took part in the early part of the scrimmage.
• Sophomore Kyle Costigan is close to nailing down the starting job at right guard, following his promotion to the first team on Friday.
• Sophomore tight end Sam Arneson, expected to be part of a three-player rotation with juniors Jacob Pedersen and Brian Wozniak, will undergo minor arthroscopic knee surgery but should only miss five days, Bielema said.
• UW only had five full practices open to the media during camp, with no more currently on the schedule. While the number of open days has dwindled over the years, that is believed to be one of the lowest totals in years. Bielema said he used last week’s evening practices, without the media present, to do “a lot of stuff. ... We couldn’t do during the day because of your guys’ (reporters’) presence.”