Packers, a favorite to sign S Landon Collins

It is no secret that the Green Bay Packers need to improve the safety position. This off-season may be the perfect time to address the position.

According to Ryan Wooden of SportsLine, the Packers have the second-best odds to land All-Pro safety Landon Collins. The Indianapolis Colts have the best odds.

SportsLine’s favorites to sign Collins this season:

Indianapolis Colts| 2/1
Green Bay Packers| 4/1
Washington Redskins| 5/1
Kansas City Chiefs| 6/1
San Francisco 49ers| 8/1
Dallas Cowboys| 8/1
Los Angeles Rams| 9/1
Houston Texans| 10/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers| 10/1
Field- 5/1

Collins has made a name for himself as one of the top safeties in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl three times in his first four seasons. Last year, Collins recorded 96 tackles and four passes defended in 12 games.

On Twitter, Collins expressed his appreciation for the New York Giants and that he’s excited to move on to the next step in his career.

Packers’ GM Brian Gutekunst said during the NFL Scouting Combine that he’s looking to be active in free agency.

There are multiple holes on Green Bay’s defense but perhaps none bigger than safety. HaHa Clinton-Dix was traded to the Washington Redskins last season for a fourth-round pick.

Collins wouldn’t only solve the problem at safety, but would become one of the, if not the best players on the defense.

Gutekunst failed to go all-in for Khalil Mack last season when the Oakland Raiders made him available. He needs to make a big-splash this off-season and Collins is the answer.

Packers not expected to bring back Davon House

It appears that Davon House’s time in Green Bay may be nearing an end.

According to Tom Silverstein, the Packers are not interested in resigning the defensive back.

House played in only three games last season before landing on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury.

There isn’t a huge need for House considering the talent at the position ahead of him on the depth chart.

Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson are the future at the position. Alexander has already proven to be a capable starter in the NFL.

If this is the end for House, he’ll finish his Packers career with three interceptions, three sacks and 31 pass breakups over 55 career games.

Wisconsin’s Quintez Cephus shines while playing for late father

MADISON — This season the University of Wisconsin football has had a relatively inconsistent passing game. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook has been up and down, tight end Troy Fumagalli and wide receiver Jazz Peavy have been in and out of the lineup with injuries, and freshman wide receiver Danny Davis has been learning on the fly. The most consistent part of the air attack has been sophomore wide receiver Quintez Cephus.

Cephus entered the season with very limited experience and an extremely tumultuous offseason in which he had to deal with the murder of his father, Andre Taylor, last April. Understandably, there have been difficult moments for him, just as there are for anyone who loses a loved one unexpectedly.

“My teammates have been there for me through the season, through all my trials and tribulations,” Cephus said. “My coaches, everybody, have always been a shoulder for me to lean on. I’m thankful to be where I am and to have the people around me that support me.”

While he’s been able to lean on teammates and coaches for support mentally and emotionally, the offense has been able to lean on him at times as well.

“I’m just pumped for him,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said. “Quintez busts his tail, and he gives everything he possibly can with a smile on his face and great energy. I think a lot of things are coming his way and I love it. I think he’s got a great heartbeat to what this offense needs to be. I love his energy and I love what he’s bringing to this offense and this team.”

So far on the season, Cephus has put up the best receiving numbers on the team for the Badgers. He’s made 23 grabs for 401 yards and five touchdowns in the first six games of the season. Everything he’s doing this season comes with a heavy heart and his late father on his mind.

“Any time I make a good play or a bad play I want to make him happy. Either way it goes. He’s always with me. Any moment whether it’s good or bad I’m always thinking about him.” Cephus said.

The Badgers are sitting at 6-0 for the first time since 2011 and are currently ranked fifth in the AP Top 25. Cephus has played a big role in that success, and it’s something he thinks his father would be proud of.

“It’s crazy to think about, but I know he would be really excited for me. He would probably be talking about me right now if he was here,” Cephus said. “[Despite] everything that’s has happened to me, as I pray and talk to God, I think things are going to work out for me. As long as I keep working hard and have faith, I think things will continue to be great for me.”

Before deciding on Wisconsin as his destination to play football, Cephus was actually committed to Furman to play basketball. The Macon, Ga., native loves LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and still has passion for the game of basketball that almost led him to the hardwood rather than the gridiron.

“I was about to go there [Furman],” Cephus said. “I was committed and signing day was coming. At the last second I wanted to come here and I know my dad wanted me to come here and play football. I felt like that was the right decision for me.”

Cephus made a decision that not only the Badgers are happy with, but one that honors his late father as well.

Wisconsin releases depth chart ahead of season opener

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin football team opens the season on Friday night, and on Sunday the team released its official two-deep depth chart.

Among the noteworthy decisions are the inclusion of four true freshmen slated to get reps in the two-deep: LS Adam Bay (starter), QB Jack Coan (backup), WR Danny Davis (backup), RB Jonathan Taylor (committee).

With Jack Cichy out for the year with a torn ACL, Ryan Connelly and T.J. Edwards will get the start at the two inside linebacker spots. Hawaii transfer Nick Nelson will supersede Jazz Peavy as the main punt returner, while A.J. Taylor will take the majority of the kick returns over Chris James.

You can see how the depth chart compares to Zach Heilprin’s predictions here.

OFFENSE
QB | Alex Hornibrook, Jack Coan
RB | Bradrick Shaw OR Chris James OR Jonathan Taylor
FB | Austin Ramesh, Alec Ingold
WR | Jazz Peavy, A.J. Taylor
WR | Quintez Cephus, Dannby Davis
TE | Troy Fumagalli, Kyle Penniston/Zander Neuville
LT | Michael Deiter, Cole Van Lanen
LG | Jon Dietzen, Micah Kapoi
C | Tyler Biadasz, Brett Connors
RG | Beau Benzschawel, Jason Erdmann/David Moorman
RT | David Edwards, Patrick Kasl

DEFENSE
DE | Alec James, Chikwe Obasih
NT | Olive Sagapolu, Garrett Rand
DE | Conor Sheehy, Isaahh Loudermilk
OLB | Garret Dooley, Andrew Van Ginkel
ILB | Ryan Connelly, Arrington Farrar
ILB | T.J. Edwards, Chris Orr
OLB | Leon Jacobs, Tyler Johnson
CB | Derrick Tindal, Dontye Carriere-Williams
SS | D’Cota Dixon, Joe Ferguson
FS | Natrell Jamerson, Patrick Johnson
CB | Nick Nelson, Lubern Figaro

SPECIAL TEAMS
P | Anthony Lotti, Connor Allen
FG | Rafael Gaglianone, Zach Hintze
KO | P.J. Rosowski, Zach Hintze
LS | Adam Bay, Josh Bernhagen
H | Connor Allen, P.J. Rosowski
PR | Nick Nelson, Jazz Peavy
KR | A.J. Taylor, Chris James

New faces, numbers added to Wisconsin’s 2017 roster

MADISON — Wisconsin has released an updated football roster for the 2017 season.

Here are some of the more notables changes:

New numbers

S Patrick Johnson — No. 2 (22)
WR Kendric Pryor — No. 3 (27)
WR A.J. Taylor — No. 4 (84)
S Joe Ferguson — No. 8 (36)
OLB Christian Bell — No. 55 (49)

New freshmen numbers

WR Danny Davis III — No. 6
QB Jack Coan — No. 10
QB Danny Vanden Boom — No. 15
CB Faion Hicks — No. 20
WR Cade Green — No. 22
RB Jonathan Taylor — No. 23
CB Madison Cone — No. 24
S Scott Nelson — No. 25
LB Izayah Green-May — No. 50
LS Adam Bay — No. 51
OL Logan Bruss — No. 60
OL Tyler Beach — No. 65
DE Aaron Vopal — No. 69
OL Alex Fenton — No. 73
OL Kayden Lyles — No. 76
WR Emmet Perry — No. 82
TE Jake Ferguson — No. 84
WR Deron Harrell — No. 89

Bulking up

Wisconsin is all about the big guys and several have added a significant amount of weight from what they were listed at prior to last season.

LT David Edwards — +30 to 315 lbs
RT Patrick Kasl — +34 to 325 lbs
C Tyler Biadasz — +25 to 316 lbs
LT Cole Van Lanen — +20 to 307 lbs
DE Isaiahh Loudermilk — +29 to 306 lbs
DE Billy Hirschfeld — +15 to 305 lbs
ILB Arrington Farrar — +17 to 237 lbs
ILB Griffin Grady — +14 to 225 lbs
RB Bradrick Shaw — +9 to 220 lbs
RB Chris James — +11 to 219 lbs
WR Quintez Cephus — +10 to 205 lbs
WR A.J. Taylor — +8 to 202 lbs
WR George Rushing — +8 to 200 lbs
S Natrell Jamerson — +10 to 198 lbs

No longer around

Offseason attrition is normal in college football, and Wisconsin had its share before and after spring practice.

(* indicates a walk-on)

* TE Mitchell Herl
DE Jake Hescock (transfer)
* LB Max Praschak (transfer to UW-River Falls)
* RB Troy Laufenberg
* S Bret Verstegen
* WR Jack Popp
LB Dallas Jeanty (transfer)
* OL Kelly Thomas
OL Kevin Estes (medical non-counter waiver being pursued)
* Ian Dretzka

Former Wisconsin RB Dare Ogunbowale Joins The Joe & Ebo Show

MADISON | It’s an exciting time for a handful of Wisconsin Football players as the NFL Draft nears.

Eyeing up a professional career and possibly being drafted in just a few weeks, former Badgers running back, Dare Ogunbowale, joined the Joe & Ebo Show to talk about his future in the NFL.

Take a listen below:

Best of luck, Dare!

Catch the Joe & Ebo Show weekdays from 8a-11a on 106.7FM/1670AM The Zone.

Cotton Bowl: Wisconsin defense vs Western Michigan offense

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Monday afternoon, Wisconsin and Western Michigan will battle in the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl from AT&T Stadium.

It’ll pit the Big Ten runner-up (10-3) against an unbeaten (13-0) MAC champion in a game fans have shown little interest in. But for the 65,018 fans who attended the Big Ten championship game against Penn State, this game could have a similar makeup. Wisconsin ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 15.5 points per game. On the flip side, Western Michigan’s offense ranks eighth in scoring offense, putting up 43.5 points per game.

So which team has the advantage?

Western Michigan offense

The Broncos are led by quarterback Zach Terrell, who’s only thrown three interceptions this season, compared with his 32 touchdowns and 70.8 percent completion rate. His favorite target is receiver Corey Davis, who ranked ninth nationally with 1,427 yards this season. He also ranked second with 18 touchdowns.

Western Michigan is also adept at avoiding turnovers as a whole. Their first turnover of the season didn’t come until week seven in a 41-0 win over Akron. They have just seven as a team all year.

Wisconsin defense

It’s been another great year for the Badger defense, despite losing defensive coordinator Dave Aranda this offseason. Taking over was Justin Wilcox, who’s led Wisconsin to the No. 7 defense in terms of yards allowed at 303 per game. As mentioned earlier, the Badgers also rank among the nation’s stingiest, giving up just 15. points per game.

Then there’s the secondary, full of ball hawks that have secured 21 takeaways by interception this season. That ranks third in the nation.

Intangibles

Trying to remove all bias, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Wisconsin’s schedule has proven them to be battle tested. The Badgers have faced six Top 10 teams in 2016, while the Broncos of Western Michigan will go up against their first defense ranked inside the Top 50.

PETITION: A Great Dayne Injustice

MADISON | The NCAA says Ron Dayne is no longer the FBS career-rushing holder despite him running for more yards than anyone else.

San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey broke the NCAA’s all-time record for rushing yards in a career on Saturday, going for 115 yards in the Aztecs’ 34-10 win against Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl. The senior finished his career with 6,405 yards, topping the previous mark of 6,397 yards held by Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne since 1999.

Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘didn’t Dayne have more yards than that?” Well, yes, yes he did! The NCAA says Dayne’s career total was 6,397, the Wisconsin record book puts it at 7,125 yards. Why the discrepancy? Well, the NCAA didn’t start counting bowl stats until 2002, meaning the 725 yards Dayne ran for his four bowl games, including three 200-yard outings, aren’t counted in the official stats.

The numbers don’t lie, and they are there, but the NCAA doesn’t want anything to do with that.

Sign the petition to recognize Ron Dayne is the real All-time rushing leader!

SIGN HERE : http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/a-great-dayne-injustice-ron-dayne-the-true-ncaa

Let’s make this happen.

Monona Grove, Darlington qualify for WIAA State finals

MADISON, Wis. — Camp Randall Stadium will play host to seven WIAA high school football championship games Thursday and Friday, with Monona Grove and Darlington getting another crack at a State title.

After three straight years of getting tripped up in the Division 6 WIAA title game, Darlington hopes to break a trend Thursday taking on Regis. It’s Darlington’s fourth straight championship game appearance.

Monona Grove has gone on a short drought, qualifying for its first State championship game since 2013. That game ended in a 21-17 win over Greendale. This year’s Division 2 matchup pits them against Brookfield East on Friday.

Thursday matchups

Div. 7: Edgar vs. Shullsburg | 10 a.m.
Div. 6: Regis vs. Darlington | 1 p.m.
Div. 5: Amherst vs. Cedar Grove-Belgium | 4 p.m.
Div. 4: St. Croix Central vs. River Valley | 7 p.m.

Friday matchups

Div. 3:  Notre Dame vs. Catholic Memorial | 10 a.m.
Div. 2:  Brookfield East vs. Monona Grove | 1 p.m.
Div. 1:  Kimberly  vs. Franklin | 4 p.m.