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Coveted Wisconsin Football Transfer Target Nearing Decision, Badgers in the Mix

One of the Wisconsin football program’s top targets in the portal is nearing a decision.

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Wisconsin Badgers Football: Camp Randall Stadium
Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Georgia Southern Eagles tight end Jjay McAfee (9) scores a touchdown during the third quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t a more prominent position of need for the Wisconsin football program than at defensive line. The Badgers have been aggressive in looking for help through the transfer portal, dishing out six offers to defensive linemen. 

One of the first players offered when the portal window opened was former Penn DL Joey Slackman, who entered the portal as a grad transfer. 

Slackman is among the most coveted transfers, ranked as the No. 24 overall player and No. 3 defensive lineman available in the portal. After garnering significant attention since the window opened, the Penn transfer has begun to narrow down his options. 

Slackman informed BadgerNotes.com on Friday that his decision is expected to come early next week, and his list of finalists includes Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Auburn, and Texas A&M.

Wisconsin Football Target Joey Slackman Nearing a Decision

In 28 career games at Penn, Slackman recorded 115 tackles, 25 TFLs, 11 sacks, and two forced fumbles. The grad transfer is coming off a standout senior year, registering 50 tackles, 12 TFLs, four sacks, and four QB hurries. With those marks, Slackman was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-Ivy. 

Slackman finished with an overall grade of 90.1 and an elite run defense grade of 92.8. With those grades, he was named the No. 3 interior defensive lineman in college football and the No. 1 in FCS.

The Badgers desperately need help on the defensive line, with only four players who recorded a stat last season returning in 2024. Some young talent should see some time next season, including Jamel Howard and Will McDonald, but adding some insurance at the position is a necessity.

With the losses of Gio Paez, Rodas Johnson, and Isaiah Mullens, Wisconsin’s interior line and run defense took a big hit. However, if Luke Fickell and company are able to reel Slackman in, they’ll bring in an elite run defender who can be a difference-maker at the Power Five level. 

As it stands, the Wisconsin football program holds transfer commitments from WR Tyrell Henry, QB Tyler Van Dyke, OLB John Pius, LB Leon Lowery Jr, TE Jackson McGohan, and LS Cayson Pfeiffer. With those six commitments, UW currently has the No. 11 transfer class in the country, per the 247Sports rankings.


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Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at BadgerNotes.com. He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.

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