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Wisconsin Football Freshman Who Could Push for Snaps This Fall

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Wisconsin badgers football
Sep 22, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers helmets sit on the field during warmups prior to the game against the UTEP Miners at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated UTEP 37-26. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With Big Ten Media Days just around the corner, Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football coaching staff are anxiously awaiting the beginning of fall camp. That’s where the real fun begins.

UW has revamped its roster through the transfer portal, retained most players amidst the coaching change, and made some late, impact additions to salvage the 2023 recruiting class.

So when fall camp rolls around, there will be plenty of competition on both sides of the ball. This injection of talent is exactly what a team that finished 7-6 and failed to win the Big Ten West for the third consecutive season needs if they’re going to meet their lofty expectations.

Today, BadgerNotes examines which true freshman entering the Wisconsin football program could push for snaps or a potential spot in the two-deep this fall.

Nose Tackle, Jamel Howard

The defensive line is among the toughest positions for a true freshman to break through and earn snaps; I get that. 

However, if a freshman is going to see the field in any capacity, they’ve got to bring something to the table that nobody else in the room has — and to me — Jamel Howard is that guy

To be clear, he’s no shoo-in to crack the two-deep but hear me out. Howard, a three-star nose tackle out of Chicago, Illinois, already has the size and strength to hold up if Wisconsin football needs to give the starters a breather. 

At 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, Howard is a massive human being with enough athleticism to be more than someone who just eats-up blocks—his ability to win with leverage and still show explosion stands out on film. 

With Keeanu Benton off to the NFL, Wisconsin football has only Gio Paez, Curt Neal, and Ben Barten returning at the position. With an impressive fall camp, there’s a chance for him to carve out a small role from the jump. 

Wisconsin Football Incoming Defensive Back Trio 

It might not be fair to lump three freshman corners into one group — but someone from the trio of Jonas Duclona, Amare Snowden, or Jace Arnold will see the field for Wisconsin football this fall. 

Duclona and Arnold enrolled early, got valuable snaps during spring ball, and were squarely in the two-deep when practice ended. However, the Badgers added transfer Nyzier Fourqurean who will factor into the CB equation — meaning one or even two freshman defensive backs could still press for time. 

If Snowden can get up to speed, he has all of the physical tools in the world to make an impact out on the boundary. At 6-foot-3, the Michigan native is a plus-size and length prospect who offers a different dimension and is the highest-upside recruit from the 2023 class, IMO. 

“I’m going to get on the field early especially,” Snowden said. “That defense coach Tressel is running; they need a boundary corner,” Amare Snowden said. “I can fill that; some people say it’s the ‘Sauce position.’ I’m long; I’m bigger, so I think I can fill that position really well.”

I’m beyond excited to see the young cornerbacks develop under the new Wisconsin football coaching staff — and there is no shortage of young talent to mold for the future. We should get our first look at a few of them this fall. 

Wisconsin Football Running Back, Nate White

Wisconsin football has some questions to answer during fall camp about who the No. 3 running back behind Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi will be. The 1, 2 punch has endured its fair share of injuries the past two seasons, so finding a viable third option will be critically important. 

With unproven options such as converted fullback Jackson Acker, converted safety Cade Yacamelli and walk-on Grover Bortolotti as the top options, true freshman Nate White from Milwaukee King could factor into the mix.

The Milwaukee native was the only scholarship tailback addition in the 2023 cycle, and his style fits the new offensive scheme better than the other players mentioned. 

At 6-foot, 175-pounds, he has great speed, elusiveness, make-you-miss stuff in the open field, and overall playmaking ability, making him an exciting young RB who could be a true home-run hitter out of the Wisconsin football backfield. 

That said, I’m skeptical that he’s going to be ready physically to play right away — I see him as someone that needs plenty of time to develop. But the running back room is unproven, and there is a need for a third running back — and as someone who offers a different dynamic out of the backfield — anything is possible for White (my money is on Acker). 


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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Football

Wisconsin Football Week 5 Stock Report: Bye Week Blues

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Wisconsin Badgers football
Sep 10, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers logo on a flag prior to the game against the Washington State Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers football team enters their bye week with a 3-1 overall record. I’m sure many fans hoped and expected the Badgers to be 4-0 heading into the bye, but 3-1 is still a pretty good start. With a victory over Purdue last Friday, the Badgers are already 1/5 of the way to being bowl-eligible, so there’s that too.

Here is the Week 5 BadgerNotes Stock Report.

Wisconsin Football Stock Report: Stock Up

Wisconsin’s Standing in the Big Ten West

We are just getting into conference play and the Wisconsin football team is already at the top of the standings. They are currently the only team in the west division that doesn’t have a conference loss.

The Gophers lost an embarrassing game to the Northwestern Wildcats in overtime after being up 31-10 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.

Nebraska lost to Minnesota in Week 1.

Iowa just got destroyed by Penn State last week, 31-0.

Purdue lost to Wisconsin last week, dropping their conference record to 0-1.

Now, with the Badgers having a bye this week, there’s a situation where the rest of the West will continue to cannibalize and lose games that will give the Wisconsin football team an even larger lead without even playing a game. Right now, the Badgers are sitting pretty well in the division.

Wisconsin Football Stock Report: Stock Down

Bye Weeks

Boo! Bye weeks suck. Having to wait more than two weeks between Wisconsin football games sucks, especially now that their offense started to get rolling. Now there’s a chance the team could lose the rhythm they worked to get into the past few weeks.

On the positive side, if there are any Wisconsin football players who are banged up, this bye week will give them some time to heal up before they play another game.


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 football news, notes, opinions, and analysis. You can also follow Christian Borman on Twitter @christianborman.

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Special Teams: The Unsung Heroes of Wisconsin Football

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Wisconsin Badgers football punter Atticus Bertrams
Wisconsin punter Atticus Bertrams (49) punts for 42 yds during the second quarter of the game against Buffalo on Saturday September 2, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.

The Wisconsin Badgers football program is headed into the bye week on a high note following a 38-17 win over Purdue. The Badgers had some very apparent struggles throughout the first four games of the season, but there was a lot to like about UW’s performance against the Boilermakers.

It doesn’t get talked about nearly enough, but Wisconsin has had some excellent play from the special teams unit thus far. The excitement around the program was at an all-time high for some of the other phases — and I’m certainly not here to blame anyone for that — but we must give credit where it’s due. Wisconsin has some real promise with its special teams, and they deserve some praise.

Special Teams: The Unsung Heroes of Wisconsin Football

Nathanial Vakos

We need to talk about Nathanial Vakos. The former Ohio transfer has undoubtedly been one of the biggest bright spots for Wisconsin through the first four games of the 2023 season. 

So far, Vakos has nailed all seven field goal attempts and been perfect on extra-point tries. After his performance against Purdue, where he went 3-for-3 on field goal opportunities and hit three extra point attempts, Vakos earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Against Washington State, Vakos also hit all three of his field goal attempts, with his longest coming in at 49 yards, which remains his longest field goal of the season.

Having a kicker of Vakos’ caliber is a blessing that can’t be understated. While he may not get the most attention due to his role on the special teams, he certainly deserves his flowers for how he has fared through the first four weeks of the 2023 season.

Atticus Bertrams

Another player who doesn’t get enough recognition is Atticus Bertrams. The freshman has quietly put together a solid 2023 season thus far. Through four games, the Australia native has punted 16 times for an average of 42.5 yards per punt. On top of that, Bertrams has only had one punt returned. Last week against Purdue, Bertrams had just two punts, but his longest boot came in at 60 yards, his longest of the season. 

Although he is an unheralded member of the special teams, the freshman has been impressive, considering he never punted in a game before the 2023 season. His marks aren’t the most impressive, but there is a solid foundation for the Australian native. 

Wisconsin Football WR/Returner Chimere Dike

Though Vakos has been the most impressive player on the special teams — in my opinion — Chimere Dike has done an excellent job on return opportunities. 

Dike was impressive during his performance against Purdue, logging returns for 39 and 34 yards. With those marks, Dike is now second in the Big Ten on punt returns, with an average of 9.6 yards per return. On top of that, he’s fourth in the conference on kickoff returns, logging an average of 32 yards per return. 

The senior receiver has undoubtedly been one of the biggest bright spots for the Wisconsin football program early in their 2023 campaign. You’d love to see him break off one of his returns for six, and that certainly isn’t out of the question with his skillset. 

The special teams unit has played a big role to start the season, and their contributions will continue to be crucial as the season chugs along. 

As it stands, the Wisconsin Badgers football team is 3-1 heading into the bye week. UW will take on Rutgers on October 7th in Madison as both teams look to improve to 4-1.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here. Also, like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter @JakeJMaier.

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Wisconsin Football Named a Recruiting Finalist for NFL Pro Bowler’s Son

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Wisconsin Badgers Football head coach Luke Fickell
Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell prior to the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers football team received some good news on the recruiting front Tuesday evening. The coveted Eugene Hilton Jr., a promising 2025 wide receiver hailing from Zionsville, Indiana, made a significant move by narrowing his list of potential schools to six, and the Badgers proudly found their place among them.

As Hilton Jr. looks ahead to his collegiate journey, he’ll weigh his options between a few notable programs. The final six schools in his consideration are Ole Miss, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida International University (FIU), Miami, and our very own University of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Football Recruiting Still in the Mix for Son of an NFL Pro Bowler

According to the industry-generated composite recruiting rankings, Eugene Hilton Jr. is the No. 393 player in the 2025 cycle, the No. 55 WR, and the No. 4 recruit to hail from Indiana.

Currently, Hilton is considered a three-star recruit and one of the top 2025 pass-catching prospects in the Midwest — and the Badgers would be happy to add him to a verbal commits list that already includes quarterback Landyn Locke and defensive back Remington Moss.

Now, if the name Hilton sounds a tad familiar to Wisconsin football fans, you’re spot on. This dynamic young talent happens to be the offspring of none other than former NFL pro-bowler T.Y. Hilton. During his illustrious NFL career, the elder Hilton made a name for himself with the Indianapolis Colts and the Dallas Cowboys.

With the Badgers making the cut in Hilton Jr.’s selection process, it’s a testament to the allure and potential of Wisconsin football & its ability to attract new talent because of their air raid offense.

As the recruiting process unfolds, all eyes will be on Eugene Hilton Jr. as he evaluates his options. While the path to securing his commitment may be winding, one thing is clear: Wisconsin Badgers football is very much in the running for the talented young wideout.



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.

Follow this link and use promo code: BADGERNOTES for 25% off your next True Classic order.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

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