Finally, Spring has sorta sprung on us..at least in terms of the football side of things. UW started Spring football earlier this week and we are continuing to bring you a look inside each position as things get going.
With this being the 4th season of the Paul Chryst era, Spring football seems to be a well-oiled machine for the Cardinal and White. What’s in store for the two-time reigning Big Ten West division and New Year’s Six bowl game champs? Let’s just say even in a year of transition the expectations are nothing short of a shot at the Big Ten championship once again.
As Spring Football gets going inside the Dave McClain Center, it’s a good time to look at what to expect from each position this Spring. Up today is a look at the most fun position to watch this spring — wide receiver.
Wide Receiver Preview:
Returning Starter(s): Quintez Cephus (Jr.); A.J. Taylor (Jr.)
Other Scholarship Players: Danny Davis (So.); Kendric Pryor (So.); Aron Cruickshank (Fr.); Taj Mustapha (Fr.); Emmett Perry (Fr.); Cade Green (Fr.)
Reason to Watch This Position: Fun
When was the last time the Wisconsin Badgers went in to the spring wondering just how they would get all the talent at wide receiver enough time on the field? After a breakout 2017 season for the wide receiver group, this spring is simply going to be fun to watch.
Quintez Cephus is back after missing the latter portion of last season, while young performers like Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor will be in their second and third spring camp. That’s not even to mention slot receiver and underrated performer A.J. Taylor.
There’s also early enrollee Taj Mustapha, who has been getting a lot of attention for his speed and hands in the short passing game so far in Spring ball. Mustapha, along with fellow early enrollee Aron Cruickshank, bring a level of speed that makes this group even more dangerous than they were before and give Paul Chryst and Co. the weapons they want to make this offense truly multiple.
Overall, Wisconsin is legit five to six deep at wide receiver. In fact, UW is so deep at wide receiver that formerly impressive freshman, Deron Harrell, moved to cornerback in an attempt to get on the field quicker this year. After years of wondering if there was even a second receiver that could step up, the Badgers may have their most loaded group of receivers in program history. It’s a fun time to watch this group grow.
Player to Watch: Kendric Pryor
A lot of attention was paid to the breakout season that fellow freshman Danny Davis had, and it certainly was an impressive debut, but the Badgers may have been in a some deep trouble late in the season without the heroics that Pryor put up. He had 13 receptions for 179 yards and 1 touchdown to his credit, but all of those numbers came in Big Ten play for the freshman.
He may be the forgotten man, but if his rookie season was any indication, doubting that he will make a big impact may be a fool’s errand. Let’s see how he responds to a challenge to his spot with a young but ultra-competitive group of receivers in the fold this spring. My money is on Pryor to continue to build on a strong debut and be a player that Hornibrook can count on when he needs that big play.
Projected Depth Chart:
WR1: Quintez Cephus, Kendric Pryor
WR2: Danny Davis, A.J. Taylor
WR3: A.J. Taylor, Taj Mustapha