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Wisconsin Football Coach Discloses Which True Freshman Will See Snaps

Which Wisconsin Badgers freshman could see the field in 2023?



Wisconsin Badgers football
Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football program will play their season opener against Buffalo on September 2 against Buffalo, and when they do, things will look awfully different. 

From the offensive scheme shifting to the air raid under Phil Longo to an influx of transfer portal additions, Badgers football, as you know it, will be changing — hopefully for the better. 

Earlier this week, Fickell spoke with Matt Lepay for the first time on his self-titled weekly radio show, covering a myriad of topics. One of the more intriguing ones he talked about was which true freshman he’s excited about — giving fans a potential look at who we could expect to play meaningful snaps this fall. 

Wisconsin Football Coach Talks About Which True Freshman Who Will Play This Fall.

Luke Fickell made it clear to Badgers fans that he doesn’t anticipate many true freshmen playing prominent roles this fall. However, Fickell went out of his way to say that freshman tight end Tucker Ashcraft will contribute to the Wisconsin Badgers this fall in a shallow position group. 

Ashcraft was a late addition to the 2023 class and reportedly came on strong in the last few practices open to the media. Given the unproven nature of the Badgers tight ends, the Washington native provides a ton of athletic upside that UW needs to mix in with Riley Nowakowski, Hayden Rucci, and Jack Pugh

The other two Wisconsin football freshman players Fickell mentioned as possibilities are cornerback Jonas Duclona and linebacker Christian Alliegro.

Duclona enrolled early and left spring practice squarely in the two-deep before the Badgers coaching staff made a pair of veteran transfer portal additions to shore up the spot. The coaching staff is incredibly high on his future, and it would be great to see him get some in-game experience in Mike Tressel’s system. 

Alliegro is a surprising one to hear, at least for me. His HUDL film was impressive, and Alliegro is a toolsy linebacker that fits UW’s new multiple-defensive scheme. Given the more established players ahead of him on the depth chart — Alliegro’s name being mentioned probably eludes to him being a core special teams guy this fall. But true freshman who earn the right to play special teams rather than redshirt often works their way into the two-deep the following season. I’ll be keeping an eye on him for sure. 

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author 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, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.