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5 Wisconsin Football Players I’m Excited to Watch in the Future

I’m planting my flag on these five players as future studs in the Wisconsin football program.



Wisconsin Badgers Football
Oct 8, 2022; Evanston, Illinois, USA; A general view of a Wisconsin Badgers helmet during a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

As a lifelong Wisconsin football fan, I am always excited to watch the next generation of Badgers take the field … because you never know who will leave a lasting legacy on the program. 

Part of the beauty of high school recruiting is that we all have access to HUDL film available to evaluate incoming prospects — but we all see something different when we watch it — which I find fascinating. 

While all the attention is deservingly on the upcoming Badgers football season, I wanted to discuss five players whose game film captured my attention that I’m excited to watch in the future. 

Two have been in the program for a few years, awaiting expanded opportunities; one recently arrived on campus, and two are current high school commitments.

Let’s dive in. 

2024 Wisconsin Football Running Back Commit, Darrion Dupree

Darrion Dupree was the top-of-the-board running back target in the 2024 recruiting class for the Wisconsin football coaching staff — and for good reason. 

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound tailback is a one-cut runner with effortless straight-line speed once he gets in the open field. Dupree’s contact balance is another standout quality on tape, and he often plays bigger than his size while still showing patience as a runner. 

But what separates Dupree is his potential to become a three-down back. The Illinois native is a natural pass catcher out of the backfield and is also versatile enough to send in motion and move around the formation. 

Talent evaluation is an imperfect science, but I think Dupree has the upside of a foundation player on offense for the Badgers. 

Freshman Cornerback, Amare Snowden

Amare Snowden was a significant recruiting win for the Wisconsin football program … because 6-foot-4 cornerbacks don’t exactly grow on trees. 

The Michigan native has all the physical tools you could ask for to be a game-changer as a boundary cornerback. When you think about the type of cornerback Luke Fickell would cook up in a lab to create his perfect prospect — Snowden is essentially it. 

Snowden has plus-size, a wiry frame, and remarkable length — that offers an entirely different dimension on defense. I think Snowden has the highest ceiling of any cornerback currently on the roster, and it’s not particularly close. 

Nobody knows how the transition to Division One football will go for Snowden — but his skill set excites me. He could potentially develop into a dynamic playmaker in the Badgers secondary with some seasoning. 

Former Five-Star Offensive Tackle, Nolan Rucci 

Nolan Rucci is a player I’m not even close to throwing in the towel on. I’ve heard some people talking about the former five-star offensive tackle as a bust — and to that, I ask, why? 

The 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive tackle is the No. 2 behind future NFL draft pick Jack Nelson. Not to mention, offensive line development takes time — you rarely have a guy earn a starting job in their first two seasons. 

Rucci played 28 snaps last season as a redshirt freshman and registered an elite PFF grade (89.0), although it was a small sample size. 

Odds are, Nelson will be off to the NFL after this season, and Rucci will step in at left tackle — where he will thrive. Rucci’s size, strength, athleticism, and ability to finish blocks for someone that size is tremendous, and he should thrive playing in space.

I want it on record that I think Rucci will be a DUDE for the Wisconsin football offensive line. 

Safety, Austin Brown 

Sophomore safety Austin Brown has everything I look for when evaluating defensive backs. He’s well built, has good speed, plays recklessly (in a good way), and accelerates/changes direction quickly. 

The 6-foot-1 safety showed an innate ability to dissect plays at a high level, shed blocks, and get downhill to lay a big hit. Brown’s speed, instincts, and IQ should pair nicely in zone coverage. 

Given Brown’s versatility in his game — he could make a lot of sense as a chess piece to move around for Mike Tressel on defense. He’s big enough to send after the quarterback and help in the run game — while being athletic enough to drop and cover tight ends. 

Overall, I think Austin Brown will be an absolute stud for Wisconsin football when he gets his name called next season after Travian Blaylock and Kamo’i Latu graduate. 

2024 Wisconsin Football Quarterback Commit, Mabrey Mettauer 

First things first, Mabrey Mettauer is a Trevor Lawrence doppelgänger. Now that we’ve got that out there — I can plant my flag on the Texas native because I firmly believe that he will be the cream that rises to the top of a talented Wisconsin Badgers quarterback room down the road. 

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound QB is a dual-threat talent with experience running a spread offense similar to Phil Longo’s. As a passer, Mettauer has a powerful arm that can throw into tight windows and extend plays with his legs if/when the pocket collapses. 

Some other things that stand out to me on film are that Mettauer is an accurate passer who works through his reads and can get the ball out quickly. Additionally, The Woodlands standout isn’t a track star, but Mettauer is a big and physical runner who can pick up some extra yardage the old-fashioned way — with his feet. 

Everything about Mettauer’s game excites me, and I can’t wait for Wisconsin football to get him on campus to begin developing him for the future — I think he’s going to be really damn good. 

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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, and the owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.