Oct 22, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Jim Leonhard reacts to a call during the fourth quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Football: Week 11 Depth Chart + Injury Report For Game Vs. Iowa

Madison, Wis. — Wisconsin football official released its two-deep depth chart and injury report ahead of its tenth game vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Here is a look at where things stand heading into Week 11:


Offensive Two-Deep

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 08: Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates a touchdown pass to Chimere Dike #13 (not pictured) against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half at Ryan Field on October 08, 2022 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Quarterback

Starter: Graham Mertz (RS JR)

Backup: Chase Wolf (RS SR)

Running Back

Starter: Braelon Allen (SO)

Backup: Issac Guerendo (RS SR)

Fullback

Starter: Jackson Acker (RS FR)

Backup: Riley Nowakowski (RS SO)

Wide Receiver 

Starter: Chimere Dike (JR)

Backup: Dean Engram (RS JR)

Wide Receiver 

Starter: Skyler Bell (RS FR)

Backup: Keontez Lewis (SO)

Tight End

Starter: Hayden Rucci (RS JR)

Backup: Jack Eschenbach (RS SR)

Left Tackle

Starter: Jack Nelson (RS SO)

Backup: Nolan Rucci (RS FR)

Left Guard

Starter: Tanor Bortolini (RS SO)

Backup: Tyler Beach (RS SR)

Center

Starter: Joe Tippmann (RS JR)

Backup: Dylan Barrett (RS SO)

Right Guard

Starter: Trey Wedig (RS SO)

Backup: Michael Furtney (RS SR)

Right Tackle 

Starter: Riley Mahlman (RS FR)

Backup: Trey Wedig (RS SO)


Defensive Two-Deep

Oct 22, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Jim Leonhard reacts to a call during the fourth quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive End

Starter: Rodas Johnson (RS JR)

Backup: Cade McDonald (RS SO)

Nose Tackle

Starter: Keeanu Benton (SR)

Backup: Gio Paez (RS JR)

Defensive End 

Starter: Isaiah Mullens (RS SR)

Backup: James Thompson Jr. (RS SO)

Outside Linebacker

Starter: Nick Herbig (JR)

Backup: Kaden Johnson (RS SO)

Inside Linebacker 

Starter: Jordan Turner (RS SO)

Backup: Tatum Grass (RS JR)

Inside Linebacker

Starter: Maema Njongmeta (RS JR)

Backup: Jake Chaney (SO)

Outside Linebacker

Starter: C.J. Goetz (RS SR)

Backup: Darryl Peterson (RS FR)

Cornerback

Starter: Alexander Smith (RS SR)

Backup: Ricardo Hallman (RS FR)

Cornerback 

Starter: Jay Shaw (RS SR)

Backup: Justin Clark (RS SR)

Nickel Corner

Starter: Cedrick Dort Jr. (RS SR)

Backup: Max Lofy (RS SO)

Strong Safety

Starter: John Torchio (RS SR)

Backup: Titus Toler (RS JR)

Free Safety 

Starter: Kamo’i Latu (RS JR)

Backup: Hunter Wohler (SO)


Special Teams Two-Deep

Sep 4, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers punter Andy Vujnovich (38) during the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Punter

Starter: Andy Vujnovich (RS SR)

Backup: Gavin Meyers (RS SO)

Field Goals

Starter: Nate Van Zelst (RS FR)

Backup: Gavin Lahm (FR)

Kickoff

Starter: Jack Van Dyke (JR)

Backup: Gavin Lahm (FR)

Long-Snapper

Starter: Peter Bowden (RS JR)

Backup: Zach Zei (RS FR)

Holder

Starter: Gavin Meyers (RS SO)

Backup: Andy Vujnovich (RS SR)

Punt Return

Starter: Dean Engram (RS JR)

Backup: Chimere Dike (JR)

Kick Return

Starter: Isaac Guerendo (RS SR)

Backup: Keontez Lewis (SO)


Wisconsin Football Injury Report vs. Iowa

Players listed as Questionable:

  • N/A

Players listed as OUT:

  • RB Chez Mellusi – Arm (Right)
  • OLB Aaron Witt – Leg (Right)

 Out for the season:

  • CB Al Ashford – Leg (Left)
  • S Travian Blaylock – Leg (Right)
  • TE Clay Cundiff – Leg (Left)
  • DE Mike Jarvis – Leg (Left)
  • TE Cam Large – Leg (Right)
  • ILB Luna Larson – Leg (Right)
  • DE Isaac Townsend – Leg (Left)


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PISCATAWAY, NJ – NOVEMBER 06 : Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers talks with quarterback Graham Mertz (5) during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Wisconsin defeated Rutgers 52-3. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

No. 18 Wisconsin vs. Illinois State: What to watch for

Madison, Wis. – The No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers kick off the new college football season by playing host to the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium on September 3. 

Wisconsin football, coming off an underwhelming 9-4 season in which they failed to win the Big Ten West title, aims to redeem themselves in 2022 after re-vamping their coaching staff in the offseason. 

Here are some items worth watching for in week one. 


Does the offense look different?

A lot of offseason chatter surrounded the current state of Wisconsin’s offense, which looked stale last year, to say the least.

Wisconsin averaged 25.4 and 25.1 points per game the past two seasons, marking the first time UW went back-to-back years averaging less than 26 points since 1991.

Coach Chryst agreed it was time for an influx of new ideas, so he hired Bobby Engram, who spent eight seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, as the new offensive coordinator in hopes of reinvigorating UW’s passing attack.

Will the offense look markedly different than last season? Your guess is as good as mine. Wisconsin football will always be a run-first team at its core, but it’ll be interesting to see if they can find more balance under new leadership this season.


Young receiving core

Following the graduations of Jake Ferguson, Danny Davis, and Kendric Pryor, who accounted for 110 of Wisconsin’s 177 total catches last season; the Badgers will turn to multiple inexperienced wide receivers to step up and contribute this season.

In addition to learning a new offense, Wisconsin’s QB1, Graham Mertz, returns just 36.9% of his total targets from 2021, according to Pro Football Focus.

Junior WR Chimere Dike enters the season as the unquestioned No. 1 pass-catcher for the Badgers and will be heavily relied upon in the passing game. Behind him, it’s worth noting that no other WR on the UW roster has caught more than three career college passes, leaving the door wide open for several young players to carve out a role in the Badgers offense.

Skyler Bell, the breakout star of spring and fall camp, will be No. 2 on the depth chart and could add an explosive playmaker into the fold who can play on the boundary or in the slot.

Markus Allen, Keontez Lewis, and Dean Engram, who transitioned from nickel corner to WR in the offseason, will all see meaningful snaps at WR this fall.

It’s a young group of players, but there is plenty of talent worth getting excited about – the question is – can the passing attack perform well enough to utilize their skill sets?


Who steps up at inside linebacker?

Leo Chenal and Jack Sanborn were arguably the top inside linebacker tandem in the country last season, totaling 206 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks in the heart of Jim Leonhard’s defense.

With both players in the NFL, the Badgers must replace 90% of the team’s overall snaps at the position.

During fall camp, Jordan Turner, Tate Grass, Maema Njongmeta, Jake Chaney, and Bryan Sanborn saw time running with the first-team defense. However, the position remained fluid, and although Turner and Njongmeta begin as the No. 1 tandem, nobody appears to have taken the reigns and run away with either starting spot.

Odds are, multiple players will see the field each week until a more consistent rotation establishes itself. Still, it’s encouraging that Wisconsin has multiple talented young players vying for snaps.

The big question is, who will step up and continue the tradition of elite play at inside linebacker?


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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 30: Running back Braelon Allen #0 of the Wisconsin Badgers warms up before a game against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Badgers defeated the Sun Devils 20-13. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers RB Braelon Allen Named USA Today Preseason All-American

Wisconsin Football, better known as RBU, has its next generational talent at running back, and he’s receiving some well-deserved national recognition ahead of the 2022 college football season.

Madison, Wis. – Earlier this week, USA Today Sports released their preseason All-America teams ahead of the 2022 college football season. 

Wisconsin Badgers sophomore running back Braelon Allen, who took the Big Ten by storm as a 17-year-old last season, received second-team All-American honors from the publication.

Allen’s preseason recognition comes on the heels of a true freshman season where Allen ran for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns on an impressive 6.8 YPC. He later received Freshman All-American and second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media.

The 6-foot-2, 238-pound sledgehammer also became the fourth Wisconsin true freshman running back in program history to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing plateau, joining Ron Dayne, Jonathan Taylor, and James White.


Season Outlook

Despite playing safety and linebacker in high school, Allen started his career as a running back at UW. Once given the opportunity, he proved to be a patient runner behind Wisconsin’s road-grading offensive linemen last season.

Although he was just a freshman, Allen established a reputation as someone that won’t go down without delivering a punishing hit of his own.

Now, entering his second season with the program, the Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin native, is poised to assume the role of UW’s workhorse running back and become the focal point of the Badgers offense.

He’ll pair with senior RB Chez Mellusi, who will help keep his legs fresh, forming a dynamic one, two-punch in the Badgers backfield.

Wisconsin football continues to find superstar tailbacks, and Braelon Allen is just the latest example.

Other Big Ten standouts named to the USA Today Sports preseason All-American team were Jaxon-Smith-Nijigba (Ohio State), Olusegun Oluwatimi (Michigan), Paris Johnson (Ohio State), Riley Moss (Iowa), Adam Korsak (Rutgers), C.J. Stroud (Ohio State), John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota), Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), Jack Campbell (Iowa), and Jake Moody (Michigan).

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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