If there was one saving grace for the Wisconsin football team in 2020, it was that players were granted an extra year of eligibility. Few teams stood to benefit more from that than the Wisconsin Badgers.
Just a season ago the Badgers offense was plagued by injuries that forced young and inexperienced players into the lineup on a week-to-week basis. Unfinished business and one last chance to prove themselves helped see the return of the team’s top two wide receivers Danny Davis III and Kendric Pryor.
Entering the season roles were pretty well established, leaving the offense no excuse in 2021 if they fail to execute. However, with such a senior-laden group of contributors, there is still a need to better establish depth that can fill those roles in case of injury – and with an eye towards next season. Today we’re going to take a look at where things stand in the wide-receiver room.
Tier 1: The established starters
- Danny Davis
- Kendric Pryor
- Chimere Dike
The Badgers were fortunate enough to return the proven production of players like Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor – both have which have amassed 1200 yards from scrimmage in their careers. Davis is a tremendous possession receiver who has a knack for making contested catches downfield. Pryor is in a different mold as more of a quick-twitch player with top-end speed (4.32 40) – and can help on end-around/gadget plays. Both players project to be key members of the receiving group and are players the Badgers can rely on.
I added Chimere Dike to this list due to what he showed us last season as a true freshman. The Waukesha, Wisconsin native totaled 237 yards from scrimmage – all while being forced to go against opposing teams’ number one corners. The experience he gained last season will undoubtedly help him in year two, and with the return of Davis and Pryor, he should have a “breakout” of sorts with less attention keyed on him. I’m very high on Chimere Dike and his future in the Wisconsin football program, this will be an important year for him before the torch is passed – making him the true number one wide receiver at Wisconsin.
Tier 2: Depth that’ll play
- Jack Dunn
Jack Dunn isn’t an exciting option, but he’s played a lot of meaningful snaps for the Badgers. Despite his small stature (5-foot-7, 176 lbs) he’s tough and reliable across the middle – and is one of the most dependable blockers on the roster. He’s never going to be a player you feature, but Dunn’s a player you love to have for the added depth you can count on week in and week out.
Tier 3: Next in line
- Devin Chandler
- A.J. Abbott
Devin Chandler appeared in 4 games as a true freshman, and should be more than capable of stepping in should an injury occur in 2021. Chandler should be in line to be a major contributor next season and is one of the most explosive route runners in the program. Chandler can contribute to special teams immediately. His suddenness and burst are something to be excited about. Devin Chandler just might be a player.
It may have taken longer than expected with A.J. Abbott finally seems to have put together the consistency that plagued him to this point. Abbott could help this program moving forward as a downfield threat, although it’s tough to imagine many snaps being available this season.
Tier 4: Getting their feet wet
- Markus Allen
- Skyler Bell
- Stephan Bracey
- Isaac Smith
Markus Allen is a big and physical wide receiver that I think might be good enough to contribute to the Wisconsin football program in some fashion most years. Due to the return of the senior’s that opportunity might be squandered this year. He’s been a player that’s been rotated in during the fall and should be in a prime position to push for a significant role next year.
Skyler Bell could be a Swiss-army knife type of pass-catcher for the Wisconsin football team down the road. He’s an explosive athlete that you might want to manufacture touches for. He may need some seasoning but his speed is undeniable, his development is one worth monitoring for the future.