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Wisconsin Football Team’s Potential Off-Season Transfer Portal Needs

Here are a few potential transfer portal needs for the Wisconsin football program this offseason.



Wisconsin football; Badgers head coach Luke Fickell
Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell is shown during the second quarter of their game Saturday, October 7, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin beat Rutgers 24-13.

I’ve had a few people reach out to me asking what potential needs Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers football program might have to address through the transfer portal this offseason. 

Even though making predictions on what those needs might be during the middle of the season — and before the 2024 recruiting class signs on the dotted line might be a fool’s errand, I’ll do my best with the information available.

Wisconsin Football Offseason Transfer Portal Needs (Maybe)

After watching the new-look Wisconsin football team, there’s a case to be made that quite a few positions need an influx of talent heading into the 2024 season. Part of this depends on whether certain core Badgers players decide to leave early for the NFL draft.

Let’s break it down position by position, starting with the offense. 

Quarterback is one of the most significant question marks going into next season. Not because anyone has suggested Braedyn Locke isn’t good enough, but because there haven’t been enough meaningful opportunities to evaluate him. However, we’ll likely have a better idea by season’s end.

If a viable one-year stopgap becomes available on the transfer market, the Wisconsin coaching staff would be foolish not to kick the tires at least. Perhaps Nick Evers, Myles Burkett, or Cole LaCrue take steps forward, but the gauntlet schedule ahead suggests adding a veteran option could be worthwhile. 


Running back is another position where adding a seasoned player could benefit the Wisconsin football team, especially if Braelon Allen decides to declare early, as expected. 

While Chez Mellusi might consider returning for another season, it’s uncertain if that’s on his radar. Although Wisconsin has promising young talent from the 2024 recruiting class to complement Jackson Acker and a few others, the Badgers should definitely explore the transfer portal if an experienced tailback seeks a new opportunity.


Next, I’ll group pass-catchers together and emphasize that the Badgers air raid offense requires a dynamic wide receiver or tight end, should the perfect fit arise.

Could that player already be in the program? Absolutely. Bryson Green, Will Pauling, and CJ Williams all have the talent to be a WR1 for Wisconsin. But right now, that’s not who they are. Plenty of talented wideouts are in the WR room on paper, but UW needs more production. 

The tight end depth is blah right now — even though Tucker Ashcraft has shown plenty of promise — asking him to become a top receiving option feels like a stretch in year two. Riley Nowakowski is a jag — and several intriguing young talents are coming up through the ranks — but there’s no doubt this room would benefit from a veteran presence. 


The Wisconsin football offensive line is an interesting discussion. Left tackle Jack Nelson was likely a top-100 selection in the NFL draft entering the season. However, his uneven play thus far makes you wonder where he stands. 

Tanor Bortolini doesn’t seem like a slam dunk draft pick — but NFL teams will most definitely love his versatility — making him an option to test the draft waters after the regular season. 

Should either or both depart, the Wisconsin Badgers must add depth. Either way, getting more athletic along the offensive line is a no-brainer. 


Defensively, the Wisconsin Badgers desperately need playmakers. 

I’m not pointing fingers at Mike Tressel, as I believe even Jim Leonhard would have faced similar challenges, given the lack of high-end talent. Nonetheless, the defense does require multiple impact players.

Whether along the defensive line, outside linebacker, cornerback, or safety — no stone should be left unturned. Especially if Hunter Wohler decides to leave the Wisconsin football program early for the NFL. Then the demand for defensive talent becomes even more pressing.

In summary, the offseason transfer portal frenzy could be quite active for Luke Fickell and his coaching staff as they aim to address these positional gaps — and bring in personnel that better fits their schemes.

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