No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers
2020 Record: 4-3
Returning Starters: Offense No. 9, Defense No. 8
Key Metrics and Personnel
- Head Coach — Paul Chryst (56-19)
- Offensive Coordinator — Joe Rudolph
- Defensive Coordinator — Jim Leonhard
- Points/Game — 25.1 (84th)
- Plays/Game — 72.4 (57th)
- Pass Rate — 42.21% (96th)
- Yards/Att R — 3.9 (81st)
- Yards/Att P — 6.3 (103rd)
- Yards/Att Allowed R — 3.3 (14th)
- Yards Att Allowed P — 6.5 (19th)
- Points Allowed/Game — 17.4 (9th)
- Vegas Win Total – 9.5, Over -105, Under -115
Paul Chryst has coached the Badgers since 2015. His offensive coordinator is Joe Rudolph, and he has been in place just as long. Jim Leonhard has been the defensive coordinator since 2017.
Recruiting Class : No. 15
Five Star Recruits:
- Nolan Rucci — OT — No. 15
Other Top Recruits:
- J.P. Benzschawel — OT — No. 130
- Riley Mahlman — OT — No. 140
- T.J. Bollers — EDGE — No. 155
- Hunter Wohler — S — No. 205
- Braelon Allen — LB — No. 205
- Chez Mellusi (Clemson — RB)
- Isaac Townsend (Oregon — EDGE)
Daily Fantasy Players to Watch
QB Graham Mertz, RB Jalen Berger
Wisconsin Badgers Depth Chart
Offense: 9 Returning Starters
- QB: Graham Mertz, Chase Wolf
- RB: Jalen Berger, Chez Mellusi
- FB: John Chenal
- WR1: Danny Davis, Jack Dunn
- WR2: Kendric Pryor, Chimere Dike
- TE: Jake Ferguson, Hayden Rucci
- LT: Tyler Beach, Logan Brown
- LG: Josh Seltzner, Cormac Sampson
- C: Kayden Lyles
- RG: Jack Nelson, Michael Furtney
- RT: Logan Bruss, Trey Wedig
Defense: 8 Returning Starters
- Edge: Matt Henningsen, Cade McDonald
- DT: Keeanu Benton, Bryson Williams
- DT: Isaiah Mullens
- Edge: Nick Herbig, Spencer Lytle
- LB: Jack Sanborn, Noah Burks
- LB: Leo Chenal
- CB: Faion Hicks
- CB: Caesar Williams
- CB-N Deron Harrell
- S: Scott Nelson
- S: Collin Wilder, John Torchio
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Wisconsin Badgers Breakdown
At quarterback Wisconsin will move forward with former four-star Graham Mertz. Mertz battled COVID-19 last year, but he completed 61.1% of his passes for 1238 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He averaged 6.4 yards per attempt. He will be backed up by Chase Wolf and Danny Vanden Boom in one of the conference’s weaker quarterback rooms.
At running back former four-star Jalen Berger returns after leading the team with 301 yards on 60 carries. He missed three games. He added a pair of receptions, but Wisconsin will be replacing their third down back in Garrett Groshek. They also add Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi. Mellusi averaged 6.3 and 5.6 yards per carry on limited opportunities behind Travis Etienne with Clemson. For depth, the Badgers will rely on some combination of Isaac Guerendo, Julius Davis and Brady Schipper. They also use a fullback in their base packages. Groshek is a huge loss due to his versatility. They will now use John Chenal and Quan Easterling in that capacity.
Receiver is never a focal point of the Wisconsin offense, but they return most of their starters. Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor battled injuries last year, but they are still the top two options. Jack Dunn and Chimere Dike also return. They ranked second and third on the team in receiving after Davis and Pryor went down. Wisconsin rarely runs three-wide sets. A.J. Abbott and Devin Chandler provide depth.
The tight end position is crucial for Wisconsin with the return of Jake Ferguson. Ferguson ranked second on the team in receiving in 2019 and finished first last year, while battling a shoulder injury. Ferguson has at least 30 receptions in each of his first three seasons with Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s offensive line uncharacteristically struggled last year. They lost Cole Van Lanen and Jon Dietzen, but they return eight of their top 10 players. Kayden Lyles returns at center. Josh Seltzner will start at one of the guard spots and Jack Nelson could start at another. However, Wisconsin has an abundance of tackles and may force one of them into an interior spot to get the best starting five on the field. Former five-star recruit Logan Brown could play tackle, forcing Logan Bruss inside. Bruss started previously at right tackle. Tyler Beach will take control of the other tackle position. While some shuffling may occur, this looks like the top six players on the offensive line for Wisconsin.
On defense, Wisconsin lost Isaiahh Loudermilk, Garrett Rand, Rachad Wildgoose and Eric Burrell. Matt Henningsen and Nick Herbig will start on the edges. Herbig tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (six). On the interior, Keeanu Benton and Bryson Williams have starting experience. Isaac Townsend also transfers in from Oregon. The linebacker unit is still intact. Leo Chenal, Jack Sanborn and Noah Burks lock down the top defensive unit for this team. Faion Hicks and Caesar Williams both have plenty of starting experience on the back end. Deron Harrell has nine starts as well, making him the favorite for nickel coverage. Scott Nelson and Collin Wilder lock down the safety positions.
Wisconsin 2021 Football Schedule
- Sept. 4 Penn State 12:00 p.m. Home
- Sept. 11 Eastern Michigan 7:00 p.m. Home
- Sept. 25 Notre Dame 12:00 p.m. Neutral
- Oct. 2 Michigan 1:00 p.m. Home
- Oct. 9 Illinois 1:00 p.m. Away
- Oct. 16 Army 1:00 p.m. Home
- Oct. 23 Purdue 1:00 p.m. Away
- Oct. 30 Iowa 1:00 p.m. Home
- Nov. 6 Rutgers 1:00 p.m. Away
- Nov. 13 Northwestern 12:00 p.m. Home
- Nov. 20 Nebraska 12:00 p.m. Home
- Nov. 27 Minnesota 12:00 p.m. Away
Wisconsin Football Betting Outlook
Wisconsin plays Notre Dame at a neutral location in non-conference play. They also draw Penn State and Michigan from the East, but they play both at home. They also draw Iowa at home making this a relatively easy schedule. Their only true road games occur at Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers and Minnesota. There are eight easy wins over Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Army, Purdue, Rutgers, Northwestern, Nebraska and Minnesota. Then they need to pick up two more wins against Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Iowa.
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