Wisconsin picked to win the B1G West

Writers that cover the Big Ten either really like Wisconsin or really have a low opinion of the Big Ten West. Either way, the Badgers are the overwhelming favorite to win their division for a third time in four years.

Cleveland.com polled 38 media members that cover the conference, and 31 picked Wisconsin to repeat in the West, while five had Northwestern and two chose Nebraska. In the East, Ohio State was also the pick of most, garnering 34 first-place votes, with defending Big Ten champion Penn State getting seven votes and Michigan getting one.

As for the title game, just four of the 31 writers that picked Wisconsin to make it there actually had them winning in Indianapolis. Three had the Badgers beating Ohio State and another had them over Penn State.

Overall, Ohio State was picked to win the Big Ten championship by 29 of the writers.

The poll also asked which teams would make the College Football Playoff, and Wisconsin got four votes as the only Big Ten team to make it, while one voter had Wisconsin and Ohio State both making it.

The writers also voted on offensive and defensive players of the year, with a first-place vote counting for three points, a second-place vote counting for two points and a third-place vote counting for one point.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was the runaway winner on offense, garnering 103 points and 30 first-place votes. Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook received two points and tight end Troy Fumagalli got one.

On defense, Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis managed just beat out Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell – 61 points to 59 points. Wisconsin linebackers Jack Cichy (10 points, 1 first-place vote) and T.J. Edwards (7 points, 1 first-place vote) finished seventh and 10th respectively in the voting.

Full results via Cleveland.com:

BIG TEN EAST

1. Ohio State, 260 points (34 first-place votes)
2. Penn State, 231.5 (7)
3. Michigan, 192 (1)
4. Michigan State, 128
5. Indiana, 114
6. Maryland, 100.5
7. Rutgers, 38
(first-place votes equal more than 38 because of some ties for first)

BIG TEN WEST

1. Wisconsin, 259 points (31 first-place votes)
2. Northwestern, 219 (5)
3. Nebraska, 176.5 (2)
4. Iowa, 164.5
5. Minnesota, 131
6. Purdue, 57
6. Illinois, 57

Here were the predictions for the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on Dec. 2.

Ohio State over Wisconsin (22)
Ohio State over Northwestern (5)
Ohio State over Nebraska (2)
Wisconsin over Ohio State (3)
Wisconsin over Penn State (1)
Penn State over Wisconsin (4)
Michigan over Wisconsin (1)

BIG TEN PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB, 103 points (30 first-place votes)
2. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB, 59 points (5)
3. Trace McSorley, Penn State QB, 30 points (2)
4. Justin Jackson, Northwestern RB, 25 points (1)
5. Mike Weber, Ohio State RB, 2 points
5. L.J. Scott, Michigan State RB, 2 points
5. Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin QB, 2 points
5. Rodney Smith, Minnesota RB, 2 points
9. Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin TE, 1 point
9. Simmie Cobbs, Indiana WR, 1 point
9. Jamarco Jones, Ohio State LT, 1 point

PRESEASON BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State DE, 61 points (11 first-place votes)
2. Josey Jewell, Iowa LB, 59 points (12)
3. Rashan Gary, Michigan DE, 23 points (3)
4. Tegray Scales, Indiana LB, 19 points (4)
5. Jerome Baker, Ohio State LB, 12 points (2)
6. Sam Hubbard, Ohio State DE, 11 points (2)
7. Jack Cichy, Wisconsin LB, 10 points (1)
8. Maurice Hurst, Michigan DT, 9 points (1)
9. Marcus Allen, Penn State S, 9 points
10. T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin LB, 7 points (1)
11. Nick Bosa, Ohio State, DE 4 points (1)
12. Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern S, 2 points
13. Steven Richardson, Minnesota DT, 1 point
13. Blessuan Austin, Rutgers CB, 1 point

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

Cichy, Edwards named to Butkus Award watch list

MADISON — Wisconsin saw two more of its players named to an award watch list on Monday.

Inside linebackers Jack Cichy and T.J. Edwards were each featured on the Butkus Award watch list — an honor that goes to the best linebacker in the country.

This is the fourth preseason watch list Cichy has been on, joining the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy (best defender), and the Lott IMPACT Trophy (best defensive player in character and performance). Cichy was leading the Badgers in tackles last fall when he suffered a torn left pectoral in the seventh game and missed the rest of the year.

Edwards, meanwhile, ended up leading Wisconsin in tackles for a second-straight year. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten for his efforts, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper lists the junior as the second-best linebacker eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Cichy and Edwards are two of Wisconsin’s representatives for Big Ten Media Days in Chicago on July 24th and 25th.

Koenig and Hayes finish up their Summer League Schedule

Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes have officially finished up their individual Summer Leagues. Both Koenig and Hayes played in five games, the minimum number of guaranteed games in the Summer League format. Hayes and the New York Knicks participated in the Orlando Summer League while Koenig and the Milwaukee Bucks played in the Las Vegas Summer League. Both teams finished this summer with a 1-4 record.

Nigel Hayes

Hayes finished up his summer games much earlier than Koenig. The Orlando Summer League went from July 1st through July 6th. The Knicks struggled as a team overall, but Hayes played well enough to earn an invitation to the Knicks mini-camp. An invitation to the mini-camp is a good sign for Hayes, who still hopes to make the team.

Though his numbers might not show it, he played really well this summer. Hayes only averaged 15 minutes a game, but was still able to average 5.2 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. He also shot the ball 41.4%  from the field. Shooting was one area that Hayes has tried to work on in his latter seasons at Wisconsin in the hopes of making it in the NBA. What stood out more than anything were things that Hayes did that  doesn’t show up in the box score.

Hayes played really good defense and showed the ability to guard the three and the four position. He also showed good rebounding positioning and passing abilities. He hardly turned the ball over in the five games he played this summer. Like his time at Wisconsin, he showed that he could pass the ball well, especially in the paint. Hayes will start his rookie mini-camp in the next few weeks.

Bronson Koenig

Koenig and the Milwaukee Bucks finished up their Summer League action on Friday night with a loss to the Utah Jazz. Throughout the summer, Koenig showed that he can still shoot and hit big shots. That being said, Koenig did struggle at times for the Bucks. Koenig averaged 16 minutes a game, in which he averaged 5.2 points, 1 rebound, and no assists. He only shot 29% from the floor (10-34) and an even worse 26% (5-19) from behind the arc.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Koenig really didn’t show off any of his passing skill for which he was known for coming out of high school. He didn’t have any assists in the five games he played. He was primarily used as a two guard coming off screens , but also played some point guard. Koenig seemed to struggle  guarding in the open floor especially against the pick and roll.

Koenig will need to show that he can play better defense this season in the G-League. He will also need toshoot the ball better than he did this summer. Five games is a small sample size especially when you aren’t getting consistent minutes.  Koenig signed a two-way contract with the Bucks, so he will be playing for the teams new G-League team, the Wisconsin Herd. He will also have the opportunity to potentially play for the Bucks during the upcoming season.

 

Badgers going all-in on 2018 PF Joey Hauser

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin men’s basketball team has just one commitment for the 2018 recruiting class, but doesn’t appear ready to even offer another scholarship until they know what four-star power forward Joey Hauser wants to do.

Wednesday marked the start of the July recruiting assessment period and all three of Hauser’s top suitors (Wisconsin, Marquette, Michigan State) have been in attendance of his AAU team’s games this week in South Carolina. Hauser led his Iowa Barnstormers with 27 points and eight rebounds in Friday’s second contest of the day.

Being that Hauser is from the Stevens Point area and won national championships on the Kohl Center floor, it would appear the recruiting battle would be Wisconsin’s to lose. But given that his older brother Sam chose to attend Marquette, 247 Sports is projecting a 71 percent chance that the younger Hauser spends his college career as a Golden Eagle.

In addition to the three teams mentioned, Hauser has offers from schools like Iowa, Duke, and Notre Dame. The latter could be a surprise contender, according to the following Tweet:

But in a recent article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Hauser has been having an internal struggle deciding which school will be the best fit. Author Jeff Potrykus spoke with Hauser’s high school coach, Scott Anderson, who said Hauser seemed poised to make a decision earlier this month, but a visit with his top three schools gave him second thoughts.

“He came back and it was more muddied, I guess is the best way to put it,” Anderson said in the article. “He felt [conflicted] again.”

The 6-8 power forward remains uncommitted, and with Anderson describing Hauser’s decision-making process as “fluid,” there’s no telling when a verbal commitment could be made. Wisconsin, Marquette, and Michigan State each consider Hauser to be their No. 1 target for the 2018 recruiting class.

Big Ten announces attendees for media days

MADISON — Wisconsin is bringing three familiar faces to Big Ten Media Days later this month.

On Tuesday, the conference announced the 42 attendees for the annual event, and the featured Badgers will be linebackers Jack Cichy and T.J. Edwards, along with tight end Troy Fumagalli.

Edwards has led the Badgers in tackles in his first two years as a starter, earning All-Big Ten honorable each season, while Cichy, before getting injured midway through 2016, was having one of the best years of any linebacker in the conference and was also All-Big Ten honorable mention.

Fumagalli, meanwhile, is considered among the best tight ends in the conference and the country, with many believing he could end up as a first-team All-American in his final year. He caught 47 passes for 580 yards and two touchdowns last season, and earned second-team All-Big ten honors from the coaches.

The two-day event will take place July 24 and 25 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and Convention Center in Chicago.

The three players, along with coach Paul Chryst, will go through interviews and photo shoots on Monday with six other teams. The other seven teams in the conference will do the same on Tuesday.

3-star CB Travian Blaylock commits to Wisconsin

The commitments keep rolling in for coach Paul Chryst and the Badgers.

As first reported by 247 Sports, 3-star cornerback Travian Blaylock gave his verbal commitment to Wisconsin on Thursday night.

The Humble, Texas, native chose the Badgers over offers from Stanford, Washington State, Kansas State and a myriad of Ivy League schools.

One of the top triple jumpers in the state of Texas, the 5-foot-11, 176-pound, Blaylock is ranked as the No. 152 CB in the country.

Blaylock’s commitment came on the heels of Avon, Ind., wide receiver Isaac Guerendo announcing for Wisconsin earlier on Thursday and Lincoln, Neb., defensive tackle Bryson Williams, who made his decision on Wednesday.

The Badgers were expected to sign 19 players in he class of 2018, and Blaylock puts them at that number with still more than five months to go before the early signing period in December.

https://twitter.com/traeblay_21/status/883144927739224064

Indiana wide receiver commits to Wisconsin

Wisconsin now has 18 commitments in its 2018 recruiting class.

The Badgers got their latest verbal from Avon, Ind., wide receiver Isaac Guerendo, who made his announcement Thursday morning on Twitter.

“I [want to] thank all the schools that have recruited me. I also [want to] thank [my] coaches and family for helping me become the person that I am today,” Guerendo wrote in a tweet. “Thank you to anyone and everyone who has believed in me. I [want to] thank God for the abilities and opportunities that he has given me to play at the next level.

“With all that being said, I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Wisconsin.”

A 3-star recruit, according to 247 Sports, Guerendo is ranked as the 12th-best player in the state of Indiana. He chose the Badgers over scholarship offers from Air Force, Army and Ball State among others.

As a junior, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound, Guerendo caught 19 passes for 596 yards and six touchdowns.

With Guerendo in the fold, Wisconsin has a total of nine scholarship wide receivers between their 2016, 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes.

Wisconsin names Chris McIntosh as deputy athletic director

MADISON — Barry Alvarez’s contract as Wisconsin’s athletic director runs through January of 2021, but it’s looking like he might already have a replacement in mind.

On Wednesday, the school announced that Chris McIntosh, currently the associate athletic director for business development, had been promoted to deputy athletic director, the No. 2 job in the athletic department, replacing Walter Dickey.

“I am always looking to put people into positions and give them responsibilities that are in the best interests of the department,” Alvarez said in a statement. “We are fortunate here to have a lot of staff who are very experienced and committed to seeing our student-athletes succeed on and off the fields of play.”

McIntosh played for Alvarez at Wisconsin in the late 1990s, earning All-American honors at left tackle as a senior in 1999 when he captained the Badgers to a second-straight Big Ten title and another Rose Bowl victory. He returned to his alma mater in 2014 in an administrative role and has quickly moved up the ranks.

Alvarez, who will turn 71 in December, has not given a timetable on how much longer he wants to serve as athletic director.

Badgers grab commitment No. 17 in the class of 2018

Wisconsin added commitment No. 17 in its 2018 recruiting class on Wednesday.

3-star defensive tackle Bryson Williams made his announcement on Twitter.

“I want to thank anyone that has helped me in any way along this journey in my recruitment,” Williams wrote. “I am so grateful to be able to live my dream and play college football.

“After really evaluating my choices, and sitting down with my family, I have decided I’m going to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”

The Lincoln, Neb., product received his scholarship offer from Wisconsin just two weeks ago, only days after he had announced his final five teams, and ended up picking the Badgers over the likes of Iowa, Iowa State and Kansas State.

The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Williams is ranked as the third-best player in Nebraska by the 247 Sports Composite, and the No. 63 DT in the country.