Badger of Honor continues to profile current Wisconsin Badger Football alumni who are playing at the next level, and up next is one of the most prolific receivers in school history.
Nick Toon followed in his father’s footsteps following high school in Middleton and chose to play football at Wisconsin following a stellar prep campaign that included a successful track and field career.
After a redshirt season, Toon hit the field for the first time in 2008 and recorded 17 receptions for 257 yards and a score on the year.
Toon exploded for 54 catches and 805 receiving yards as a sophomore in 2009 – both team-highs – scoring four touchdowns along the way. The 805 yards was sixth all time at UW for a sophomore, and the 11th best mark ever for a Wisconsin receiver.
The performance earned Toon a spot on the pre-season Biletnikoff Award watch list heading into the 2010 season, where Toon finished second in receptions (36), receiving yards (459) and receiving touchdowns (3), trailing tight end Lance Kendricks in all three categories.
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Toon had another big season as a senior in 2011, racking up career-bests (and team-highs) across the board with 64 receptions for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 10 TD’s were the second-best single-season mark in school history, while the 64 receptions tied for third best in school history and the 926 yards were the sixth highest mark ever for a Badger.
The performance earned Toon a second-team All-Big Ten nod from the coaches and an honorable mention spot from the media.
He finished his career with 2,447 yards, good enough at the time for third-best in school history. His 18 career touchdowns also ranked fifth best for a UW receiver.
Toon was graded a 77.0 heading into the 2012 NFL Draft, with NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks saying his size was his biggest asset.
"“Size is the name of Toon’s game. The son of former New York Jets star Al Toon, Nick stands at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, and plays to that size. Toon might not run past many NFL defensive backs, but his overall awareness at the position, understanding of how to play to his strengths and effectiveness in the run game make him a solid prospect. He should be an NFL mainstay after being selected somewhere in the second round.”"
Toon ended up being drafted in the 4th round, pick 27 (122 overall) by the New Orleans Saints.
Aug 15, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Nick Toon (88) against the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
As a rookie in 2013, Toon appeared in eight games, catching four passes for 68 yards. He has appeared in two games so far this season, but has not recorded a catch.
Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem has struggled with injuries as of late, and should he continue to miss games, Toon will have more opportunities to make an impact for New Orleans.
*College statistics courtesy UWBadgers.com.