Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers entered the offseason with one goal in mind: to improve the football program’s talent level.
Nowadays, there are countless ways to achieve that goal, but the most obvious course to inject impactful talent comes via the transfer portal.
It’s a two-way street. Each transfer portal window, you’re going to lose players who filled valuable roles for you, the program spent time developing or didn’t have a path to playing time and were recruited over.
Unofficially, the Wisconsin football coaching staff swindled a three-team trade (thanks to @TheDairyRaid for the idea) between the Badgers, Miami, and the University of Albany from the FCS level.
In my opinion, the Wisconsin Badgers walked away big-time winners. Let’s break it down.
Wisconsin Football Wins 3-Team Transfer Portal “Trade”
Since the moment Luke Fickell took over as the Wisconsin football team’s head coach, I knew this man was a salesman.
Results on the field will always be the most important thing, and there’s no denying that a 7-6 finish left a sour taste in people’s mouths. But this staff does a wonderful job in the world of talent acquisition, and the unofficial execution of this 3-team transfer trade helps illustrate that.
The Wisconsin Badgers lost in-state quarterback Myles Burekett to the transfer portal after two seasons with the program. He was buried on the depth chart and didn’t see a path toward playing time. Burkett, in this scenario, is the program’s trade chip.
In a perfect world, Wisconsin wanted to land a veteran signal-caller who could step in for Tanner Mordecai as the Badgers QB1. So they got Miami on the phone, knowing Tyler Van Dyke might be available.
Van Dyke was a high-pedigree quarterback whose time had run its course with the Hurricanes, and Wisconsin football coaches saw him as an experienced reclamation project worth a dart throw. After getting benched during the season, it was clear both sides needed a fresh start.
But another team would have to be brought into the mix; Burkett didn’t offer Miami what they were looking for at QB because they already had a young option in Emory Jones waiting in the wings.
Then…it hit them: we need to find a school from a tier beneath us with an experienced quarterback ready to make the leap to the Power 5.
That’s when Albany, who lost in the FCS national semi-finals, came into the picture with an answer to everyone’s problems: Reese Poffenbarger.
Before you knew it, the deal began to take shape. With Poffenbarger ready to spread his wings, Miami saw a fit and agreed he would be the perfect option for them. In exchange, Wisconsin football would send Myles Burkett to Albany, giving them a former three-star QB with multiple years of eligibility to lead their program.
The Wisconsin Badgers would then get the experienced quarterback they wanted to lead their young room in Tyler Van Dyke and help provide a potential solution to their ailing passing attack.
But UW still needed some help on the defensive line and chose to play a little hardball.
Knowing the other two schools were pleased with this arrangement, the Badgers staff showed pause over the additional years of eligibility they were sending out. Seeing how interested Albany was in Burkett, the Great Danes folded and chose to tack on All-CAA Fourth Team DL Elijah Hills to get this three-way deal to the finish line.
Before it was all said and done, Wisconsin football turned a third/fourth-string quarterback on their depth chart into a starting option in Van Dyke and an experienced rotational defensive lineman on top of it.
— The Dairy Raid 🏴☠️ (@thedairyraid) January 9, 2024
Absolute masterclass trade negotiation from Luke Fickell and company.
*Note: This is not at all what happened; it is merely a coincidence that all these players filled voids at each other’s schools.
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