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Wisconsin Football: Braelon Allen Could Thrive in the Air Raid Offense



As if Luke Fickell becoming the head coach of the Wisconsin football program wasn’t shocking enough, he wasted little time retaining core players like Braelon Allen and making a transformative hire of his own.

Coach Fickell convinced Mike Leach disciple Phil Longo, who led four consecutive top-15 offenses (nationally) as the offensive coordinator at North Carolina, to leave Chapel Hill and take the same position at the University of Wisconsin.

With him, coach Longo brings a modified air-raid offense – which probably gave some of the older generations a heart attack at the mere utterance of the sentence. That said, he’s done a terrific job adapting the offense to his personnel and accentuating the strengths of his team’s best players – because why wouldn’t you?

Need proof? The Tar Heels’ best offensive season under Longo (more than 41 PPG) came in 2020 when he featured RBs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, who ran for 1,245 yards and 1,140 yards, respectively.

So, Wisconsin football traditionalists can relax; because the Badgers won’t be throwing the ball 50+ times a game. How do I know this? Because the program has one of the nation’s top running back tandems in Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi.

What does this mean for Braelon Allen? 

One of the top priorities for Luke Fickell upon taking over the Wisconsin football program was re-recruiting second-team All-Big Ten running back Braelon Allen to stay with the Badgers.

The 6-foot-2, 238-pound RB finished the 2022 season with 230 carries for 1,242 yards (5.4 YPC) and 11 touchdowns. He also caught a career-high 13 passes for 104 yards.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin native registered 671 yards after contact, 2.92 yards after contact per attempt, and was the highest-graded starting offensive player for the Badgers (79.6).

Although Allen is a tremendous talent, UW’s inept offensive approach forced him to see a stacked box more than any Power 5 team in the country.

When asked by UW reporters what excited him most about Phil Longo’s offense, Allen’s answer was unsurprising.

“Probably running into six-man boxes and not just knowing every week it’s going to be eight or nine guys in the box on every single play. Playing in an offense that is more spread out, it just automatically is going to loosen up defenses.”

Stock Up: Wisconsin Football Backfield

Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) and Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) have a laugh as part of Wisconsin Badgers football media day at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.
Badgers Media Day 0853

With the offseason additions of Tanner Mordecai, Nick Evers, and Braedyn Locke, UW now has a QB room consisting of legitimate dual-threat options capable of running Phil Longo’s air raid offense.

With a mobile QB under center, the mere threat of running will keep defenses honest and open up running lanes.

Longo’s offense aims to get the opposing defense as spread out as possible. That way, UW can get the ball to its playmakers and allow its best athletes to make plays in space. The prospect of spacing alone is probably music to Allen’s ears after facing a loaded box the past two seasons.

Second, Wisconsin football returns all five of last season’s starting offensive linemen, retained other high-pedigree linemen in the pipeline, and added impact players in the transfer portal.

According to Pro Football Focus, UW finished with the No. 14 ranked pass-blocking grade and the No. 29 run-blocking unit in 2022.

Wisconsin’s OL room should improve significantly after an entire offseason of growth in the weight room under new strength and conditioning coach Brady Collins because of his impressive track record of player development.

All of these individual parts combined should help Braelon Allen take fewer hits and save some wear and tear on his body — which could play a role in keeping him healthy and putting together a dominant junior season for the Wisconsin football team.

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Wisconsin Football: An Early Look at the 2024 Recruiting Class



Wisconsin football completed its 2023 recruiting class just a few days ago. After putting together a top 40 class, UW has set its sights on 2024.

The Badgers have already secured multiple recruits for the 2024 cycle and are currently among the top choices for multiple recruits. Here’s an early look at Wisconsin’s 2024 recruiting class.

Mabrey Mettauer

Mettauer, a four-star QB, committed to UW on Christmas Eve, making him the first recruit of the 2024 class.

According to the 247Sports Composite, Mettauer is the No. 21 quarterback in his class and the No. 43 player in Texas.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound QB is a gunslinger through and through. In 2022, the Texas native threw for 2,621 yards and 32 touchdowns. Mettauer has excellent pocket presence and arm talent, making him a seamless fit for the air raid offense.

Mettauer is among the best in his class at quarterback, and he’ll have the opportunity to fight for the starting job in his first year on campus.

Grant Stec

Stec, a top tight end in the class, was UW’s second commitment for 2024. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound tight end has the attributes to make an immediate impact when he heads to Madison in 2024.

According to the 247Sports Composite, Stec is the No. 10 tight end in the class and the No. 4 player in Illinois. He also ranks inside the top 200 players in the class. In 2022, Stec hauled 17 catches for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

The Illinois native is a do-it-all tight end. His size makes him a tough matchup in run block situations, and his pass-catching ability is among the best at his position.

With Clay Cundiff and Hayden Rucci entering their senior seasons, Stec could be a contributor on day one. His talent makes him an option to take the reigns as a potential freshman starter in 2024.

Rob Booker

Booker, a Wisconsin native, is the third committed prospect for 2024.

According to the 247Sports Composite, Booker is the No. 23 tight end in the class and the No. 5 player in Wisconsin. In 2022, Booker hauled in 27 catches for 380 yards and six touchdowns. After his impressive year, he was given an All-State First Team selection.

The 6-foot-6, 215-pound tight end is a mismatch nightmare. Booker’s frame makes him a big-bodied player who can do damage in the red zone, and he’ll be a red zone threat at the next level.

Other notable prospects for Wisconsin football

Jordan Marshall

The Badgers landed in top running back Jordan Marshall’s top four choices. He took to Twitter to announce his remaining choices.

Marshall is the No. 12 running back in the class and the No. 4 player in Ohio, according to the 247Sports Composite. UW will have a tough recruitment battle with other Big Ten schools in the race, but the Badgers are a top choice for the dynamic tailback.

Kari Jackson

Wisconsin landed in four-star LB Kari Jackson’s top seven choices. Jackson announced his final seven schools on Twitter.

Jackson is the No. 21 linebacker in the class and the No. 7 player in Michigan, according to the 247Sports Composite. UW offered Jackson in the fall, and he recently visited campus on Junior Day.


Wisconsin football is just starting to put is 2024 recruiting class together, and they’ve already secured multiple four-star recruits. We will have to wait and see if they can bring in other top targets, but regardless, UW is shaping up to have an excellent class next year.

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 news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter. @JakeJMaier.

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Wisconsin Badgers: Keeanu Benton Boosts Draft Stock at Senior Bowl



Wisconsin Badgers Nose Tackle Keeanu Benton

Madison, Wis. — Anyone who has closely followed the Wisconsin Badgers football program knows that Keeanu Benton is an exceptional talent on the defensive line. 

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound nose tackle is coming off his most productive season at UW in 2022, where he registered 35 tackles, 28 pressures, 10 TFLs (2nd amongst B1G interior linemen), and added a career-high 4.5 sacks en route to third-team All-Big Ten honors.  

According to Pro Football Focus, Benton finished with the Wisconsin Badgers third-highest pass-rushing grade (83.6), trailing only linebackers Maema Njongmeta and Nick Herbig. 

The talented defensive lineman received an invite to play in the Reeces Senior Bowl this past week, and let’s just say he boosted his NFL draft stock quite a bit during the process. 

Senior Bowl Recap

The first significant event of the NFL draft season wrapped up on Saturday with the conclusion of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

And now that Wisconsin Badgers DL Keeanu Benton had the chance to put his talent on full display in front of NFL talent evaluators, his draft stock is undoubtedly on the rise.

The Janesville native put his athleticism on full display and reportedly impressed all week long with his power, speed, and motor as a disruptive pass-rusher.

Keeanu Benton also received high praise from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler:

“Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton entered the week as my clear No. 1 senior defensive tackle, and he backed that up. A nose tackle in the Badgers’ scheme, Benton is a stout run defender, but his potential as a pass rusher is intriguing,” said Brugler. “Using both quickness and power, he consistently won his one-on-one reps and showed why he landed in the second round of my latest mock draft.”

The former Wisconsin Badgers standout will likely be a top-100 selection in April. Still, regardless of where Benton winds up, I have little doubt he’ll become a damn good NFL player – I’m just happy other people are finally putting some respect on his name.

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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Wisconsin Football News: Badgers Make Cut for 4-Star RB, NSD Surprise, More



Wisconsin Football
Sep 3, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; General view of Camp Randall Stadium prior to the game between the Illinois State Redbirds and Wisconsin Badgers. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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

Wisconsin Football Makes the Cut for Four-Star RB Jordan Marshall

Earlier this week, four-star running back Jordan Marshall out of Cincinnati, Ohio, who recently visited Madison for junior day, trimmed his list of schools in consideration down to four.

Although the 5-foot-10, 193-pound RB accumulated more than 25 offers–he’s now down to a final four of Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, and the Wisconsin football program.

Marshall, a standout at Archbishop Moeller High School, registered 1,961 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns en route to being named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio.

According to the 247 composite rankings, Marshall is the No. 105 prospect in the 2024 recruiting class, the No. 8 RB in the country, and the No. 2 player in Ohio.

You can watch his HUDL film here.

The top 10 running back wants to commit sometime this summer, but I’d be shocked to see Wisconsin football pull this one off.

Wisconsin Football Lands Commitment on National Signing Day

Since taking over the program, Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football coaching staff fought tooth and nail to get three-star nose tackle Jamel Howard out of Chicago, Illinois, back into the fold.

Thankfully, on National Signing Day, the hard work paid off when Howard, who was trending towards the Michigan Wolverines, announced in front of friends and family that he was (re)committing to the University of Wisconsin and putting a cherry on top of the 2023 class.

Per the 247sports Composite, Howard is the No. 1,168 overall prospect in the 2023 recruiting class, the No. 124 DL in the country, and the No. 25 player in Illinois.

The 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive lineman finished his senior season with 53 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble, according to MaxPreps.

Jamel Howard’s fit with the Wisconsin football program isn’t worth speculating about — he’s coming in to play nose tackle at the next level and provide immediate depth on the Badgers’ defensive line.

You can read his full recruiting breakdown here.

Wisconsin Football Announces Spring Game

You’ve been asking for it, and the Wisconsin football program heard you loud and clear — there WILL be a spring football game in 2023. 

The UW Athletic Department announced the Badgers will hold a spring game open to the public on April 22nd – helping usher in a new era of Wisconsin football in what they’re calling “The Launch.” 

UW’s spring game will be an open practice with drills and a live scrimmage toward the end of the event. It will give Badgers fans their first look at the team’s new direction under Luke Fickell and his coordinators, Phil Longo and Mike Tressell. 

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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