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Wisconsin Badgers 2018 Spring Football Preview: Tight Ends

Wisconsin will move on from one of its best tight ends in recent memory, how do the 2018 Badgers stack up?

Whether or not the weather will cooperate, the Wisconsin Badgers have rung Spring in with a few practices to date. Along with that we continue to dive in to every position and give you the need-to-know information for the 2018 version of the Badgers.

Previous Previews: Quarterback | Cornerback | Offensive Line | Defensive Line | Wide Receiver | Inside Linebacker | Outside Linebacker | Running Back |

Up today is a look at a position that has been restored to its old glory over the past few years thanks to one man. Of course, we’re talking about tight end and the now graduated Troy Fumagalli. Wisconsin must face life without him and it should be an interesting spring ahead.

Tight End Preview:

Returning Starter(s): Zander Neuville (Sr.)

Other Players to Know: Kyle Penniston (Jr.); Jake Ferguson (Fr.); Luke Benzschawel (So.)

Reason to Watch This Position: Life After Fums

Troy Fumagalli restored the tradition of excellence at tight end for the Wisconsin Badgers. Now a new host of young and hungry candidates will have to live up to his lofty production.

Zander Neuville was Fumagalli’s best friend at tight end over the past few years, first as a blocker and then as another pass-catching target for defenses to worry about. Neuville becomes the elder-statesman in 2018, but he won’t be around for spring as he continues to recover from season-ending surgery last December. That means the kids will get plenty of looks this spring, and that could be a really good thing.

Let’s see if Ferguson, Benzschawel and Penniston have what it takes to take up the mantel of Fumagalli’s production level.

Player to Watch: Jake Ferguson

As one grandson of Barry Alvarez graduates, another is about ready to step on the field and could be poised to make an immediate impact. Jake Ferguson was a 4-star talent out of high school in Madison and staying home was simply the smart and easy choice to make. It’s also apparently Wisconsin’s immediate gain.

So far in camp, Ferguson has been a matchup nightmare for the Badgers defense and often shines as one of the best players on UW’s offense. But, this is spring camp and he’ll need to do a lot to unseat the guy who was also a 4-star recruit in Kyle Penniston. The battle between those two for the primary pass-catcher role is going to be really interesting.

His size, speed and athleticism could make him a hard one to keep off the field by the end of spring ball.

Projected Depth Chart:

TE1: Jake Ferguson; Kyle Penniston
TE2: Zander Neuville, Luke Benzschawel

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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