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Where Former Wisconsin Football Coaches Landed This Offseason

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Wisconsin Football Legend Jim Leonhard
Wisconsin head coach Jim Leonhard, right, is shown during the first quarter of their game against Minnesota Saturday, November 26, 2022 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.
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It’s no secret that the entire Wisconsin football program received a complete and utter facelift after Athletic Director Chris McIntosh fired former head coach Paul Chryst and set the wheels in motion for one of the wildest offseasons in recent memory.

And while the entire Badgers fanbase is over the moon about the Luke Fickell hiring and the direction of the program, despite the decision to pass over folk hero Jim Leonhard for the job, plenty of other notable staff members lost their respective positions–with the new regime opting to clean house.

That said, many of Paul Chryst’s coaching staff who served the Wisconsin football program found new jobs this offseason, either in the NFL or in college.

Here’s a quick look at where some former Wisconsin Badgers coaches found homes, starting with the coordinators.

Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Jim Leonhard

Jim Leonhard was and will always be a Wisconsin football legend. And in many ways, anything other than a Luke Fickell-level signing would have caused riots in Madison. But I digress…

Things have been pretty quiet this offseason on the Leonhard front, job-wise. He left Wisconsin with a nice little payout and reportedly needed to get surgery, so a year off to recover and plan his next move makes a ton of sense. 

He reportedly met with the Philidelphia Eagles to discuss their defensive coordinator job, but the two sides mutually decided to end discussions. When he does choose to return to the coaching ranks, NFL and college teams will be lining up to hand him a fat paycheck. 

Offensive Coordinator/QBs Coach, Bobby Engram 

Bobby Engram, who joined Chryst’s coaching staff as a first-time offensive coordinator, came to UW as a highly respected position coach with the Baltimore Ravens. 

And even though he didn’t get much of a chance to showcase himself in that new role, he landed on his feet this offseason, joining the Washington Commanders as their wide receivers coach. 

Now, onto the defensive coaching staff…

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This Wisconsin Football Player Could Break School Records in 2023

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Wisconsin football stadium: Camp Randall
Sep 10, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger prior to the game against the Washington State Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations for the Wisconsin football program are sky-high entering the 2023 season. Part of that is Luke Fickell taking over as head coach, and another part is Phil Longo joining his staff and implementing his air raid offensive attack, bringing the Badgers into the 21st century.

And while that’s all well and good, Wisconsin needed someone capable of elevating the quarterback room to take the next step offensively. So the coaching staff went portaling this offseason and came out with a proven option to lead the charge.

That player is Tanner Mordecai, who is a quarterback to watch out for in the upcoming college football season. The former SMU quarterback transferred to the Wisconsin football program and is expected to make a significant impact in Phil Longo’s air raid passing attack.

In two seasons starting at SMU, Mordecai threw for 7,152 yards, 72 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, and had a 66.4% completion percentage. Mordecai’s arm talent and experience, coupled with the new offensive system, could lead him to break several passing records in his lone season in Madison.

Tanner Mordecai Could Re-Write the Badgers History Books 

Mordecai was a highly recruited quarterback out of high school, and he chose to attend the University of Oklahoma. He redshirted his freshman year and then served as a backup quarterback for two seasons behind Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. He later transferred to SMU, where he went crazy and put himself on the NFL’s radar.

Mordecai’s transfer to Wisconsin has generated a lot of excitement among Badgers fans. The team has long been known for its strong running game, but with Mordecai at the helm, they could have a potent passing attack as well.

Phil Longo, the Badgers new offensive coordinator, is known for his air raid offense, which relies heavily on the passing game. This could be a perfect fit for Mordecai, who has shown that he can make accurate throws and read defenses well.

If the 6-foot-3, 214-pound signal-caller can replicate his performances from the past two seasons or even come close; he has a chance to break several long-standing passing records at Wisconsin.

The school’s single-season passing record is 3,175 yards, set by Russell Wilson in 2011 (the only Wisconsin football quarterback to eclipse 3k). Under coach Longo, his starting QBs have a five-year average of 3,704 passing yards per season. Also, consider that Mordecai threw for over 3,500 yards in the past two seasons.

Mordecai’s impressive arm strength, plentiful opportunities, and accuracy could help him surpass that mark. Of course, there will be challenges for the Texas native as he adjusts to a new offense and a new team.

Wisconsin Football is in Good Hands 

The Big Ten is known for its physical, hard-hitting defenses, and Mordecai will likely face some tough tests on the field. However, he has shown the talent and the drive to succeed at the highest level of college football.

Overall, Tanner Mordecai is a quarterback to watch in the upcoming season. His transfer to the Wisconsin football program has generated a lot of excitement, and if he can replicate his performances from the past two seasons, he could break the single-season passing record.

With Phil Longo’s air raid offense and Mordecai’s impressive arm talent, the Badgers could have one of the most potent passing attacks in the Big Ten if everything breaks right. 

Why Wisconsin Football is the Most Underrated Program in the Country


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Wisconsin Football Attempting to Flip ACC Commit, Recruiting Updates, More

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Wisconsin badgers football
Nov 26, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; A Wisconsin Badgers cheerleader carries the Wisconsin flag following a score during the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy couple of days for the Wisconsin football program, especially on the recruiting front, but fear not because BadgerNotes can help get you back up to speed with a roundup of some important Badgers news you may have missed.

Wisconsin Badgers Trying to Flip a Defensive Line Commit 

Defensive line coach Greg Scruggs and the Wisconsin football program recently offered 2024 Pittsburgh commit Francis Brewu out of Columbus, Ohio, who committed to the Panthers in March.

According to the industry-generated composite rankings, he’s the No. 88 DL in the country and the No. 39 player in Ohio.

Brewu, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound three-star defensive lineman, registered 25 tackles and 12.5 sacks for Thomas Worthington High School as a junior.

It’s unknown whether or not Wisconsin has a real chance to flip the ACC commit, but from what I’m hearing, the Badgers coaching staff is trying to get him on campus for an official visit in June.

Wisconsin Football Makes the Cut for 2024 Offensive Tackle 

Wisconsin football currently holds just one offensive line commit in the 2024 recruiting cycle: four-star OT Derek Jensen, who pledged to the Badgers in April. However, they still need several more bodies at the position and made the cut for one of their top remaining targets.

Three-star offensive tackle Ronan O’Connell announced his top three schools: Clemson, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

According to the 247Sports composite rankings, O’Connell is the No. 39 OT in the 2024 recruiting class and the No. 13 player in Tennessee.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Tennessee native probably projects best at guard in college and has an official visit on the books to visit Madison on June 9.

Other Wisconsin Football News

After Wisconsin football coaches flew out to Maryland to watch 2024 cornerback Lloyd Irvin workout in person, the coaching staff extended him a scholarship offer, and he wasted no time repaying the favor, scheduling an official visit to Madison shortly after that.

Irvin, a 6-foot-3 unranked cornerback prospect who holds offers from Michigan, Maryland, Boston College, Michigan State, West Virginia, and several others, will be on campus for an official visit the weekend of June 9-11.

“They’re a big contender,” Irvin said. “This coaching staff at Wisconsin has experience getting long cornerbacks into the league and helping them develop.”

Although he’s not currently ranked in the industry-generated recruiting rankings, some major schools are involved or circling, so this could be a sneaky talent worth locking down to develop.

It would be an understatement to say that the Badgers’ defensive coaching staff has a type with their defensive backs. If you don’t have plus size and length, you can forget about getting an offer from Wisconsin at this point.


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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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*Subscribe to Locked on Badgers on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the only daily Wisconsin Badgers podcast on the internet.

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FootBall

Where Former Wisconsin Football Transfers Landed This Offseason

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Wisconsin Football RB Julius Davis
Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Julius Davis (32) rushes with the football during the fourth quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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The transfer portal has become an increasingly popular route for college players to find new opportunities and see if the grass is, in fact, greener on the other side. And just like every other school, Wisconsin football lost its fair share of players during the coaching transition from Paul Chryst to Luke Fickell.

Several former Badgers have entered the portal this off-season in search of a better system fit, more playing time, or potential NIL opportunities on the open market.

After recently taking a look at where former Wisconsin coaches found new homes, I figured it might be worthwhile to see where the Badgers who entered the transfer portal will play in 2023, starting with the defense.

Cornerback, Avyonne Jones –> Coastal Carolina 

Former Wisconsin Football Cornerback, Al Ashford –> Utah State

Former Wisconsin Football Safety, Titus Toler –> Boise State

Linebacker, Spencer Lytle –> Stanford

Defensive End, Tristan Monday –> Arizona State

Cornerback, Semar Melvin –> Michigan State

And now, a look at where the former Wisconsin football offensive players found homes in the transfer portal…

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