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Wisconsin Football Has a Glaring Need in the Transfer Portal

The Wisconsin football program has been active in the portal early, but there’s still one glaring position of need.



ct 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell leads the football team onto the field for warmups prior to the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin football program has been active in the transfer portal early, landing commitments from Leon Lowery Jr, Cayson Pfeiffer, and John Pius in the first week and a half of the portal being open. 

The Badgers have addressed positions of need at linebacker with the additions of Lowery and Pius and supplemented the loss of former long snapper Peter Bowden. It’s still very early in the cycle, but Wisconsin still has a glaring need in the portal. 

Wisconsin Football Has a Glaring Hole at Defensive Line

You could make a case for several positions as the No. 1 need. Arguments could be made for quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end, but the biggest hole on this roster — in my opinion — is the defensive line. 

Mike Tressel and the Badgers defense had a lackluster 2023 season on their defensive front, but some of that could be pinned on the scheme and personnel groupings. Regardless, a group that saw limited production has just four players who saw extended time coming back next year. 

James Thompson Jr, Darian Varner, Cade McDonald, and Ben Barten are some notable contributors who will return for the 2024 season. Some young players, including Jamel Howard and Curt Neal, could also see some extended run. Still, adding experienced bodies at the defensive line should be considered a top priority. 

Wisconsin has been in touch with multiple transfer defensive linemen, including Joey Slackman and Anthony Johnson. Linebacker seemed to be a priority early for the Badgers, but with the additions of Lowery and Pius, sights should now be turned to the defensive line. 

As it stands, the Wisconsin football program has earned three transfer commitments. 

There may be some more good news coming up for the Badgers, too.

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Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.