The Wisconsin Badgers enter the 2014 football season for the first time in four years without Jared Abbrederis at Wide Receiver. Life without Bucky’s primary receiving threat since the days of Russell Wilson is upon us. It’s time to accept it.
Wisconsin boasts exactly zero tested wide receivers.
But fear not Badgers faithful, Wisconsin does have some talent at the position — albeit unproven. The Badgers are counting on senior Kenzel Doe (who wears jersey No. 3) and sophomore Robert Wheelwright (who wears jersey No. 4) to turn into a solid No. 1 and No. 2 combo at the wide receiver position. That is if junior Jordan Fredrick doesn’t secure one of the starting wide receiver roles — which he very well may.
Frederick has hauled in the most passes throughout his career than of any of the Badgers receivers. Although it should be mentioned that the number is a measly 27 receptions. But his experience could lead him to making some significant contributions as the season rolls on. Not to mention, in the highly-anticipated season opener he’ll be looked to as a leader at the position.
There really is reason to hold out hope for this group of wide receivers. Wheelwright has reportedly been one of the bright spots over the summer for the Badgers. And Doe has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, especially in the return game.
One unknown that is still glaringly hovering over Madison is who will be throwing the ball to this group of receivers. The rumors trickling out of Madison are that incumbent Joel Stave might be the starting quarterback for the season opener against LSU. But the other potential starting quarterback Tanner McEvoy may have some chemistry with Doe — the two connected for a beautiful 27-yard touchdown pass in the Badgers’ Spring Game.
Doe is a speedy receiver that stands of 5-foot-8 and weighs 170 lbs. His explosiveness will be needed to stretch the field to open it up for the Badgers’ lethal running back duo of Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement.
Wheelwright is more of a possession receiver that stands 6-foot-2 and weights 198 lbs. His size should enable him to out-strength the majority his Big Ten competition at the cornerback position. All indications point to Wheelwright being the Badgers’ primary target in 2014. Out of high school he was heavily recruited by Ohio State, so it’s quite obvious he has the skills to be a star.
Frederick has tremendous size at 6-foot-4, 220 lbs. Will this be the year he finally makes his mark in Madison?
My dark horse at wide receiver to contribute heavily in 2014 is sophomore Reggie Love. With a body-type similar to Fredrick’s, he is another player that could make some noise if given a chance to play. He caught one pass last year as a true freshman. Look for him to snag some playing time in 2014.
Although there are two other receivers on Wisconsin’s roster that could make some noise in 2014. The other is freshman Jazz Peavy, a speedy in-state receiver, is a potential playmaker for the Badgers. He is most likely buried on the depth-chart at the moment but could find his way onto the field this year. The other is Alex Erickson. He has prototypical wide receiver size and he snagged nine catches a year ago.
There are a few wide receivers that don’t really have a realistic chance of playing in 2014 but could become big-time playmakers for the Badgers in the future include true freshmen Krenwick Sanders and George Rushing. Both showed a lot of promise in high school and they’ll both certainly get their chance to shine in 2015 and beyond.
WR 1: Robert Wheelwright (sophomore)
WR 2A: Jordan Fredrick (junior)
WR 2B: Kenzel Doe (senior)
WR 1: Reggie Love (sophomore)
WR 2: Jazz Peavy (freshman)
WR 3: Alex Erickson (sophomore)