With the 2014 NFL Draft in the books and the regular season fast-approaching, Badger of Honor is taking an in-depth look at each and every Wisconsin Badger in the National Football League.
We continue with the group of Badgers selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Up next is wide receiver Jared Abbrederis.
Abbrederis starred in high school in Wautoma, Wisconsin, as a quarterback and defensive back, earning multiple awards, including a spot on the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association first team all-state list, on the way to leading his team to a Division IV state championship.
Following high school he walked on at Wisconsin, and spent his redshirt season as a scout team spread offense quarterback.
Abbrederis found his first playing time on special teams in 2010, but quickly became an important part of the Badger offense, having switched from quarterback to wide receiver in the off season.
In 13 games (two starts) during his redshirt freshman season, Abbrederis amassed 20 receptions for 289 yards and three touchdowns (tied for team best). He also began what would become a stellar special teams career, returning 7 punts for 67 yards and three kicks for 111 yards.
His freshman performance earned him a spot on the Rivals.com Freshman All-Big Ten Team.
Building off of his freshman season, Abbrederis had a breakout sophomore campaign in 2011.
Starting all 14 games that season, Abbrederis had 55 catches for 933 yards and eight touchdowns. His 933 yards lead the team and was the fifth-best mark for a single season in UW history, as well as the highest total posted for a Badger sophomore.
He also had his best statistical season from a special teams standpoint, returning 20 punts for 315 yards and a score, and taking 28 kickoffs for 689 yards. His 15.8 yards per punt return ranked third in the nation, and when adding his 11 carries for 62 yards, Abbrederis racked up 1,999 all-purpose yards, good enough for the sixth-best total in UW history.
Following the season, Abbrederis was named a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten player, and was a SI.com All-America Honorable Mention punt returner.
2012 saw Abbrederis’ numbers dip slightly, but UW’s top target still hauled in 49 passes for 837 yards and five touchdowns. He also had 8 carries for 83 yards, and returned 17 punts for 111 yards. Abbrederis no longer returned kickoffs after the 2012 season.
His 837 receiving yards were the third best number posted in the Big Ten, and was tenth-best in the country among receivers with at least 45 catches. Abbrederis was a consensus First Team All-Big Ten selection.
Abbrederis’ senior season brought forth his best single-season performance to date, as he hauled in a career high 78 catches for a career best 1,081 yards, with seven touchdowns. He tacked on six carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns, as well as 11 punt returns for 94 yards.
What may be more impressive is Abbrederis’ production that season despite the lack of a clear number two receiving threat and a shaky season from quarterback Joel Stave.
Abbrederis finished out his career with another consensus First Team All-Big Ten selection, and was awarded the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the most outstanding college football player who began his career as a walk-on.
His 202 career receptions tie him with Brandon Williams for most in Wisconsin history, and he sits behind only Lee Evans (3,468) for career receiving yards with 3,140. He is tied with Tony Simmons with 23 career receiving touchdowns, also second in school history behind only Evans. His 4,818 career all-purpose yards rank seventh in school history.
Heading to the 2014 NFL Draft, most experts predicted Abbrederis to be a mid to late round pick, despite a hamstring injury prior to the Senior Bowl.
Abbrederis was selected by his home-state Green Bay Packers in the fifth round with the 176th overall pick.
In Green Bay, Abbrederis has the chance to immediately make his presence known as a returner, and will compete with several other young wide receivers for a spot behind starters Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin.
Green Bay also drafted receivers Davante Adams (Round 2, 53, Fresno State) and Jeff Janis (Round 7, 236, Saginaw Valley), and has several talented players such as Chris Harper, Myles White and Kevin Dorsey looking to earn a spot on the team.
Abbrederis’ special teams ability should give him a foot in the door once training camp begins, and his abilities as a receiver should seal the deal once the final roster is announced.