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Wisconsin Football News: Badgers Land WRs in Portal, New Kicker, More

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Wisconsin Badgers Football

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.

Side note: Luke Fickell and Phil Longo have been madmen on the recruiting trail as of late. So we, as fans, should consider starting a go fund me to help fuel the copious amounts of caffeine they must be consuming. 

Wisconsin Football Lands Transfer Wideout From Cincinnati 

The first domino to fall among the wide receiver visitors UW had on campus was Will Pauling, a redshirt freshman from Cincinnati who decided to follow coach Fickell’s staff and join the Wisconsin football program.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound WR appeared in nine games this past season, saw 23 targets, and caught 12 passes for 122 yards (9.8 Y/REC) with a 13.7 ADOT.

According to PFF, Pauling, who comes to UW with three years of eligibility remaining, has played 84 of his 92 career snaps out of the slot.

Phil Longo likes to play a myriad of wideouts so he can keep guys fresh, so don’t be surprised if Paulig works his way into the mix quickly and pushes for a spot in the two-deep during spring practice. His familiarity with coach Fickell’s language should help tremendously.

Wisconsin Football Adds Freshman All-American Kicker via Transfer Portal

Wisconsin football isn’t exactly known for its special team units. In my opinion, UW has lacked a high-end kicker since Rafael Gaglianone exhausted his eligibility.

That’s not a knock on Nate Van Zelst, who put together a nice season for the Badgers in 2022, but an upgrade was definitely worth exploring.

Earlier this week, UW’s coaching staff secured a commitment from Ohio’s freshman All-American placekicker Nathianal Vakos.

This past season, Vakos connected on 22-of-27 field goal attempts (81.5%) and put home 98% of his PATs. He finished with a PFF grade of 80.7 as a field goal kicker, which for reference, was higher than both Van Zelst (74.8) and Vito Calvaruso (59.7).

It’s also worth noting that Vakos hit the third-longest field goal in the nation last season with a 56-yard make. There will undoubtedly be a competition in spring and fall camp, but it goes without saying that he’s the overwhelming favorite to be the Badgers’ starting kicker next season.

Vakos joins the Wisconsin football program with three years of eligibility remaining.

One More Cincinnati WR Just For Good Measure 

Wisconsin football coaches mentioned wanting up to 12 scholarship pass-catchers in its WR room – that’s why UW’s been so aggressive in hosting transfer portal targets on official visits.

Yesterday, Luke Fickell got the Badgers one step closer to that goal when they secured a commitment from Cincinnati WR Quincy Burroughs, who announced his intentions to transfer to Wisconsin on social media.

Burroughs, a former three-star recruit, was recruited by Mike Brown + Gino Guidugli, both of which are now on staff at UW.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound WR who redshirted this past season fits the mold of a bigger-bodied pass-catcher UW needs and has four years of eligibility to boot.

In talking to a person who covered the Bearcats, rumor has it Burroughs showed some serious flashes of potential in practice during his redshirt season and is someone the Wisconsin football coaches are really high on.


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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of BadgerNotes.com, 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.

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