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Wisconsin Badgers Football is Flooded With Breakout Candidates



Wisconsin Badgers Football safety Kamo'i Latu
Oct 8, 2022; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Wisconsin Badgers safety Kamo'i Latu (13) celebrates with linebacker Maema Njongmeta (55), left and cornerback Ricardo Hallman (2) after incepting a pass in the first quarter against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Badgers football staff has done plenty to develop a winning culture, and some key players may assist in the program’s development this upcoming season.

There is no doubt this is one of the most talented rosters Wisconsin has put together. Now, the team will be expected to perform on the field as well. Between the staff and transfer portal turnover, the Badgers will look like a much different team. The success from the past is being ushered out as the next chapter is about to be written. The new success of the Badgers will also come from some new faces.

Three Breakout Candidates For The Upcoming 2023 Season

After having a dominant run in the transfer portal, the Badgers have added plenty of plug-and-play talent. Between offensive coordinator Phil Longo and head coach Luke Fickell, the Wisconsin Badgers football team has boatloads of experience in success and leadership. An experienced staff knows to point experienced individuals to lead the team. However, Wisconsin will have multiple players step-up into new roles.

This Wisconsin Badgers team will likely have a number of players perform above their expectations. On the other hand, there may be some players that fail to reach their expectations. Yet, that is how all sports go, and the Badgers have learned what it feels like to miss out on their expectations after their struggles a year ago.

Heading into the 2023 season, here are the three biggest breakout candidates for this new-look Badgers squad.

Candidate #1: Jeff Pietrowski, Outside Linebacker, Red-shirt Junior

Naturally with the amount of transfers Wisconsin had, one of them will need to breakout. Obviously there is no “breakout” statistic, nor is there plenty of information that could point towards future success. However, if there were a breakout gauge, outside linebacker Jeff Pietrowski Jr. would be off the charts. Perhaps the most intense player on the field and in the gym, Pietrowski was a two year starter for Michigan State before suffering a major injury this past season. Pietrowski played in the first three games before missing the final nine and taking a red-shirt.

During his three seasons with the Spartans, Pietrowski had his best year in 2021 when he recorded 33 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. The intimidating force that is Pietrowski will once again take the field this year, but this time he will wear Badger colors. Pietrowski had finally come into his own this past season before his unfortunate injury. Now, the 6-foot-1-inch, 250-pound linebacker is more eager than ever to play. Pietrowski is the perfect example of how coach Fickell wants his entire team to play, and he should excel in 2023 given the circumstances.

Wisconsin Badgers Football Candidate #2: Cade Yacamelli, Running Back, Red-shirt Freshman

The 6-foot, 200-pound safety turned running back Cade Yacamelli is one of the most interesting stories coming out of Madison. Yacamelli was recruited in the 2022 class and eventually signed as an athlete. Originally, Wisconsin Badgers football expected the athlete to play as a defensive back for the team.

However, halfway through last season, the Badgers and Yacamelli agreed to convert the player into a running back. Now the talented player is expected to take on a solid role despite his lower ranking in the depth chart. While there may be incredible talent ahead of Yacamelli, the recruit has plenty of breakout potential.

Starting with the new offense, offensive coordinator Phil Longo has been known for spreading the ball. Longo created a two-headed monster at UNC with Javonte Williams and Michael Carter both dominating on the ground. Longo is bound to use as many players as he can, and Yacamelli has already made his presence known during the Spring camp. With all the focus on Braelon Allen and his inevitable success, Yacamelli has the chance to silently have a great season for the Badgers.

Wisconsin Badgers Football Candidate #3: Ricardo Hallman, Corner Back, Red-shirt Sophomore

After his Spring performance in practice and the game, Ricardo Hallman had to be on this list. The 5-foot-10-inch, 180-pound corner back snagged an interception a year ago for the Badgers. After snagging multiple interceptions from starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai in the Spring game, the defensive back looks ready to make an impact for the Badgers. With an already strong defense surrounding him, Hallman should have no issues making a difference for Wisconsin during the 2023 season.

The intelligent corner back has continued to learn and develop under the guidance of the new staff. Hallman can establish himself as a shutdown corner with the right preparation. Hopefully, Hallman, Yacamelli, and Pietrowski can all prove themselves for the Badgers this season.

Wisconsin Football Might Have Found Its Quarterback of the Future

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Jarrett Guerrera is a graduate of Western New England University with a Bachelor's in English. Jarrett played rugby at the collegiate level, and has been a sports fanatic all his life. Jarrett is also a contributor for Wisconsin Sports Heroics.