Continuing our series of positional breakdowns by looking at the backs and tight ends. This is the bread-and-butter of the Badgers’ offense right here. And possibly the jam.
1. Montee Ball
A man who needs no introduction. If he’s not in the Heisman hunt at the end it will be a great shock. Has had a few bumps along the way this offseason but he seems to be fine after the concussion and, for now, all systems are go.
2. James White
Good enough to be a featured back, but with Montee Ball on the squad, he’s a #2. Of course at Wisconsin the #2 can put up #1 numbers. Will be integral to the offensive attack all year.
3. Melvin Gordon
He could probably carry the load as a #2 or even #1 back right now, but he’ll wait his turn.
4. Jeffrey Lewis
He’ll have a front-row seat to some great football games this season.
5. Kyle Zuleger
Special teams stand-out.
6. Vonte Jackson
Our Heisman candidate in 2015?
1. Sherard Cadogan
Looking to fill a Bradie Ewing-sized hole in the Badgers’ line-up. That’s a tall task.
2. Derek Watt
J.J.’s brother has been moved over from linebacker to provide some depth at a thin position. He’s still learning how to play offense but could be a factor this year.
3. Derek Straus
4. Kevin MacCudden
Not a lot of experience between these two guys. Hence the decision to convert Derek Watt.
1. Jacob Pedersen
He’ll be a huge part of the Badgers offense this year. A preseason John Mackey award candidate. Danny O’Brien will find him early and lean on him heavily.
2. Brian Wozniak
Injuries have hampered him. If healthy, could provide a downfield threat.
3. Sam Arneson
Blocking tight end who is improving his pass catching and could push Wozniak for the #2 job.
4. Brock DeCiccio
Pittsburgh transfer has a chance to play. He’s very big.
5. Austin Traylor
Highly-rated recruit and talented future star tight end. He won’t be needed this year with all the depth, obviously.
The Badgers always ask for big production from their running backs and tight ends, and this year will be no exception. The running attack should be devastating and the aerial attack should be solid with Jacob Pedersen providing a versatile target from the tight end spot. The question mark is fullback. Cadogan has a lot to prove and Derek Watt could end up starting there before it’s over. Matt Canada has lots of weapons to work with here and it should be fun watching him put this whole thing together.