Natrell Jamerson out 4-to-6 weeks, Corey Clement could return kicks

MADISON | Wisconsin will be without a key member of their secondary and special teams for quite some time.

Coach Paul Chryst said Monday that cornerback Natrell Jamerson will miss 4-to-6 weeks with a leg injured suffered in Saturday’s win over Akron.

“I feel bad for (Natrell),” Chryst said. “Yesterday, (in) talking to him, he’s got the right approach (to coming back).”

Jamerson will not be easy to replace. He’s a member of four different units on special teams, including being the Badgers’ main kick returner, as well as the guy that comes in when Wisconsin goes to five defensive backs.

“He’s a four-phase special teamer, so you’ve got four different guys that’ll probably get an opportunity,” Chryst said. “And then in the nickel package, we’ll see how this week goes.”

At kick returner, it’s possible that running back Corey Clement could get a shot. The senior left the game on Saturday with an ankle injury, but Chryst believes he’ll be able to practice this week. And when asked if Clement would be a viable option to return kicks, Chryst said, “absolutely.”

As for Jamerson’s spot on defense, that remains to be seen. Wisconsin liked true freshman Caesar Williams during fall camp and he was listed as a backup, but has yet to play. Redshirt freshman Titus Booker and junior Lubern Figaro are also options.

No. 9 Wisconsin (2-0) closes out the non-conference portion of their schedule this Saturday against Georgia State (0-2) at 11 a.m. at Camp Randall Stadium.

Wisconsin football preview: Defensive backs

MADISON | The Wisconsin football team will open fall camp on Aug. 8, so over the next few days we’ll be going position-by-position to preview head coach Paul Chryst’s second team in Madison.

Today we take a look at the secondary.

Defensive backs

The secondary, or more accurately the safety position, is the biggest question mark on the defense. Wisconsin is trying to replace Michael Caputo and Tanner McEvoy — one of the best safety combinations the program has ever had. And if spring was any indication, the process is far from over.

The biggest issue was the lack of bodies. Junior D’Cota Dixon, who learned under Caputo last season, was penciled in as his replacement. But then a hamstring injury sidelined him for the last nine practices of spring. Senior Leo Musso, who’s been battling for a starting spot since his redshirt freshman season, missed large portions of spring practice because of classes. That left sophomore Arrington Farrar and junior Joe Ferguson as the No. 1 safeties for long stretches, with redshirt junior Keelon Brookins and junior Lubern Figaro behind them.

Wisconsin isn’t panicking, and if healthy, likely would feel good about a combination of Dixon and Farrar, with Musso being the third guy in. And if not, a pair of incoming freshmen — Eric Burrell and Patrick Johnson — might also be an option to look at.

On the outside, senor Sojourn Shelton and junior Derrick Tindal seemed to always be getting their hands on the ball during the spring, and the former appears ready to ascend to the role of UW’s shutdown cornerback.

Junior Natrell Jamerson, who is replacing Darius Hillary as the Badgers slot cornerback, got beat a couple times on deep balls in the spring game. Overall, though, it was a solid spring for the third-year player.

Redshirt freshman Titus Booker has all the talent in the world, but he was still in the process of refining it during the spring, according to new secondary coach Jim Leonhard. Still, he showed significant growth over the 15 practices and is primed for playing time this year.

Depth chart projection
Cornerback: 1) Sojourn Shelton, Senior 2) Titus Booker, RS freshman
Safety: 1) Arrington Farrar, Sophomore 2) Joe Ferguson, RS junior
Safety: 1) D’Cota Dixon, Junior 2) Leo Musso, Senior
Cornerback: 1) Derrick Tindal, Junior 2) Natrell Jamerson, Junior

Monday: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
Tuesday: Offensive line, tight ends
Wednesday: Defensive line
Thursday: Linebackers
Today: Defensive backs