Wisconsin football has wrapped up its month of spring practices. The 15 workouts were all open to the media – giving fans early access to the quickly changing look of Badgers football under head coach Luke Fickell. Some position groups, including wide receivers and safeties, were impressive. One position group, in particular, left the coaching staff searching for help in the transfer portal.
Entering practice, the quality of depth at cornerback was clearly a question mark for Wisconsin football. Unfortunately for defensive coordinator Jim Tressel, he has more questions than answers right now. Although the Badgers have a starting group set, there is not a clear set of reserves.
Alexander Smith, Ricardo Hallman, and Jason Maitre have claimed the starting roles. Smith returned this season as the unquestioned number-one cornerback. Hallman has impressed his new coaching staff throughout the spring; he snagged three interceptions from starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai at UW’s spring game. Maitre, a transfer from Boston College, has carved out his spot in the slot.
Behind the top three corners, Wisconsin football lacks experience. True freshmen Jonas Duclona and Jace Arnold saw nearly all of the second-team cornerback snaps. Although the pair of former three-star recruits show promise, the Badgers are seeking more seasoned depth. Aside from the five already named, redshirt junior Max Lofy is the only other scholarship cornerback on the roster this spring. Four-star recruit Amare Snowden will join the Badgers secondary this fall.
Wisconsin Football Struggles To Maintain Depth at Cornerback
Wisconsin football lost several potential depth pieces at cornerback to the transfer portal. A’Khoury Lyde, Avyonne Jones, and Al Ashford all entered the transfer portal this past week. Add them on top of Semar Melvin, who in December announced he was transferring from UW to Michigan State, and the Badgers’ proverbial cornerback cupboard is quite bare.
Cornerback is a position that Wisconsin football has struggled to maintain depth recently. Prior to the 2022 season, former defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard brought in three transfer corners (Justin Clark from Toledo, Jay Shaw from UCLA, and Cedrick Dort from Kentucky). Now, the new UW coaching staff appears poised to head to the transfer portal for reinforcements as well.
Wisconsin’s new coaching staff recognized a need for additional cornerback talent early this spring. UW extended a scholarship offer to Maitre’s former teammate at Boston College, Josh DeBerry, after only one week of practice. UW has extended several scholarship offers to transfer portal cornerbacks in recent weeks.
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