The University of Wisconsin has finished up its 15 spring practices, and it’s time to take a look at where the Badgers stand heading into the summer and fall camp.
Here’s a position-by-posiiton look at what UW’s two-deep depth chart may look like in August.
1.Bart Houston OR Alex Hornibrook
During the first few weeks of spring, Houston appeared to be the obvious choice at quarterback. He was the more consistent of the two and Hornibrook was throwing far too many interceptions. Over the second half of spring, Hornibrook turned that around by taking better care of the ball and throwing with much more consistency and accuracy. He’s shown an ability to throw an accurate deep ball, and it appears he’ll have a good opportunity to win the starting job this fall.
This order comes as no surprise, and the two complement each other quite well. Clement can be an every-down back and could be one of the best running backs in the country this season, while Ogunbowale excels in third-down situations. Behind them, Taiwan Deal has taken strides to be a quality option as the third back in the rotation, but redshirt freshman Bradrick Shaw has also impressed this spring and will push for a role.
2.Alec Ingold OR Leon Jacobs
Ramesh was limited for much of spring practice, allowing Jacobs and Ingold to see more reps at their new position. Jacobs was transitioning from inside linebacker, while Ingold mostly played running back last year. The two still have a ways to go before they’re consistent players at the fullback position, but they’re likely talented enough to give the Badgers some depth behind Ramesh.
3.Reggie Love OR George Rushing
Wheelwright looked like a true No. 1 receiver when healthy this spring, and UW coach Paul Chryst praised Peavy’s play following Saturday’s spring game. The battle for the Badgers’ No. 3 wideout didn’t become any more clear, as both Love and Rushing had impressive moments over the last couple months. Love caught three touchdowns in an earlier scrimmage this spring, while Rushing looked his best over the last two weeks and caught two deep touchdowns in the spring game.
Fumagalli will likely serve as UW’s No. 1 pass-catching tight end, while Steffes will provide the Badgers with a solid in-line blocker at the position. Redshirt freshmen Kyle Penniston and David Edwards were a pleasant surprise this spring, showing they could be game-ready by September. Tight end depth was a major concern heading into this offseason, and it may not be by the time the season begins.
Although the Badgers are in much better shape along the offensive line than they were last year, there’s still plenty to be determined at the position. Voltz, a three-year starter at center who is still recovering from a knee injury suffered last season, suggested Deiter has played so well at center that he should remain there once Voltz is healthy. That would move Voltz to guard, and there’s no guarantee he could pick the position up in time to beat out Benzschawel, Dietzen or Kapoi. There’s also concern about depth at the tackle positions. Connors took first-team reps over the final two practices of spring because of a leg injury to Maxwell, but he’s an unproven player. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph said if Ramczyk or Maxwell were injured during the season, Benzschawel would likely move to tackle, where he struggled in pass protection last season.
1.Chikwe Obasih and Conor Sheehy OR Alec James
2.Sheehy OR James and Billy Hirschfeld OR Zander Neuville
UW began giving James a high number of first-team reps in base packages over the second half of spring, and it appears he’s now in a full-fledged competition for a starting spot. Sagapolu looks like a lock to start after playing well as a true freshman last season, and defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield would like Patterson to develop enough this offseason to become the Badgers’ second nose tackle, rather than moving someone like Sheehy to the middle. UW has other contributors returning from last year that will provide depth, and incoming freshman Garrett Rand could also help out when he joins the team in the fall.
1.Vince Biegel and T.J. Watt
2.Zach Baun and Garret Dooley
Biegel is one of the top leaders on this defense, and Watt was named a starter before spring practice began. Baun and Dooley have seemed to emerge as solid players behind them to give the Badgers some depth at the position. Redshirt freshman Jake Whalen may be another name to keep an eye on at outside linebacker during fall camp.
1.T.J. Edwards and Jack Cichy OR Chris Orr
2.Cichy OR Orr and Ryan Connelly
Edwards hasn’t guaranteed himself a spot in the starting lineup, but his breakout season last year would suggest he has the best shot among the top three competing at the position. Cichy and Orr also proved last year to be starter-quality players, and the battle between the two could be one of the most interesting of fall camp. Connelly, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship last year, has impressed this spring and could contribute in the fall.
1.Sojourn Shelton and Derrick Tindal
2.Natrell Jamerson and Titus Booker
Shelton enters his fourth year as a starter, and Tindal has taken the first-team reps opposite him after showing improvement in the second half of last season. Jamerson still needs to become more consistent, and the inexperienced Booker doesn’t have any game experience, so depth at this position remains a slight concern heading into the fall.
1.Leo Musso and D’Cota Dixon
2.Arrington Farrar and Joe Ferguson
This could be one of the most unsettled positions coming out of spring. Musso and Dixon took first-team reps when they practiced, but both missed significant time this spring due to injury (Dixon) and class conflicts (Musso). That gave guys like Farrar, Ferguson, Keelon Brookins and Evan Bondoc more reps, and it will be interesting to see if any of those inexperienced players can challenge Musso and Dixon for a starting job this fall. Safety will have by far the biggest questions of any defensive position entering the season.
Gaglianone enters his third-year as a starter, while Endicott will likely handle kickoff duties for the Badgers again this year. Rosowski, a walk-on from Stoughton, finishes spring as the No. 1 punter, but incoming freshman Anthony Lotti is expected to be UW’s starter as a true freshman once he joins the team this fall.