With the 2017 season in the books, it’s time to look ahead to 2018 for Wisconsin. Over the next few days we’ll be going position-by-position to see what the future holds for the Badgers.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to the players’ class in terms of what they’ll be in 2018. If someone was a sophomore in 2017, they will be called a junior here.
Returning: Quintez Cephus (JR), A.J. Taylor (JR), Danny Davis (SO), Kendric Pryor (RS FR), Adam Krumholz (RS SO), Jack Dunn (RS SO), Cade Green (RS FR), Emmet Perry (RS FR), Deron Harrell (RS FR)
Leaving: George Rushing
Arriving: A.J. Abbott, Taj Mustapha, Isaac Guerendo, Aron Cruickshank
Biggest question: How will Wisconsin use its abundance of wide receivers?
This is definitely a good problem to have, especially with the Badgers feeling like a one-man bad at the position from 2012 to 2016. But it does present a challenge for wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, who must mix and match a unit that is as deep as anything Wisconsin’s had in recent memory.
Before getting hurt at the beginning of November, Quintez Cephus was clearly quarterback Alex Hornibrook’s favorite weapon. He was on pace for 47 catches, 779 yards and nine touchdowns. He should be ready for summer workouts.
With Cephus out, A.J. Taylor, Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor stepped up. Taylor had three of his five touchdowns in the final five games of the year, Davis capped his impressive freshman year with three scores in the Orange Bowl and Pryor, who was slowed early in the year after a moped accident in August, scored three vital touchdowns over a two week period against Iowa and Michigan.
The quartet gives Wisconsin one of the better units in the Big Ten. Now, the Badgers need to figure out a way to best utilize them.
If the future wasn’t bright enough for Wisconsin, there are several more incoming players that have people excited.
Isaac Guerendo and Aron Cruickshank further increase the athleticism at the position, with the latter likely having a chance to contribute in the return game and potentially in specialized offensive situations.
The other two incoming freshmen — A.J. Abbott and Taj Mustapha — were high school teammates in Michigan and will bring size and big-play potential to the table.
Cruickshank and Mustapha will both enroll early, allowing them to go through winter conditioning and spring practice.
Walk-on Adam Krumholz saw time when injuries hit in 2017, and the redshirt sophomore held his own.
Cade Green is another guy to keep an eye on. The redshirt freshman had a strong first few days of fall camp before getting injured. He suffered a foot injury during the year and was in a walking boot at the Orange Bowl. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get an opportunity as Wisconsin’s punt returner with cornerback Nick Nelson now off to the NFL.
Predicted depth chart:
1) Quintez Cephus (JR), Kendric Pryor (RS SO)
2) A.J. Taylor (JR), Aron Cruickshank (FR)
3) Danny Davis (SO), Taj Mustapha (FR)