As we continue to preview the 2018 Wisconsin Badgers Spring Football period, it’s important to understand just what the roster really looks like.
On Thursday afternoon, the Badgers updated their roster online and that gives us a much clearer picture of what’s happening for the team.
Were there position changes? Did anyone leave the program or get taken off the roster?
The answers to both questions is yes, but not to a major extent.
UW announced that four players have switched positions heading in to Spring ball. Here are those changes:
- Senior linebacker Arrington Farrar — inside linebacker to outside linebacker
- Redshirt Freshman Deron Harrell — wide receiver to cornerback
- Redshirt Freshman Jake Collinsworth — inside linebacker to fullback
- Redshirt Freshman Paul Jackson — wide receiver to outside linebacker
Farrar has now played three different positions at Wisconsin. He started at safety in 2015, but could never get consistent playing time there and outgrew the position by last year. Farrar made a bigger impact at inside linebacker last year, getting on the field more consistently and recording a career high 16 tackles.
With both starting outside linebackers gone, the Badgers are likely looking to find the magic that happened last season with Leon Jacobs’ similar move from inside linebacker to the outside. However, the competition will be fierce at that position (and more on that in our upcoming position preview).
The move of Collinsworth to fullback makes sense when you see the three names that were missing from last season’s roster and were expected back this season.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal report, the Badgers were missing fullback Jake Whalen, senior defensive end Billy Hirschfeld, inside linebacker Nick Thomas and walk-on players Peter Roy and Blake Mielke.
Hirschfeld is the biggest name missing from the roster, but the Wisconsin State Journal had reported his decision earlier in the day. In fact, Hirschfeld put out a blog post announcing his decision to focus on school and becoming a journalist instead of playing out his final season of football for the Badgers.
He played in 25 career games, making seven tackles, one tackle for loss and had a pass break up to his name.
Thomas’ absence shouldn’t be too surprising, as the former 4-star recruit never really cracked the two-deep at inside linebacker and even saw himself slipping behind the transitioning Arrington Farrar last fall. He never recorded a stat in his two years with the program.