We’re eight months away from the Wisconsin Badgers football program’s season opener against Western Michigan on August 31st.
UW has loaded up on some defensive talent via the transfer portal, specifically at linebacker, making Mike Tressel’s unit a very intriguing one to watch heading into 2024.
Here are my predictions for the Badgers defensive two-deep.
Wisconsin Football Defensive Depth Chart Predictions
Starter: James Thompson Jr. (RS SR)
Starter: Ben Barten (RS SR)
Starter: Curt Neal (RS SO)
Backup: Cade McDonald (RS SR)
Backup: Elijah Hills (SR)
Backup: TJ Bollers (RS JR)
The defensive line was the biggest area of concern during the offseason, and while they did add some help in Albany transfer Elijah Hills, this room is still thin. Still, it is nice for UW to have Ben Barten and James Thompson Jr back to lead this group.
With a limited talent pool, young players such as Jamel Howard, Ernest Willor Jr, and Dillan Johnson will have a real opportunity to compete for playing time.
Starter: Darryl Peterson (RS JR)
Starter: John Pius (RS SR)
Backup: Leon Lowery Jr (RS JR)
Backup: Jeff Pietrowski (RS SR)
The pass rush wasn’t always a strong suit for the Badgers last season, but UW was able to dip into the portal and find some athletes who can provide some quality reps.
Starter: Jaheim Thomas (RS SR)
Starter: Jake Chaney (SR)
Backup: Tackett Curtis (SO)
Backup: Christian Alliegro (SO)
There wasn’t a group that underwent a bigger revamp than the inside linebacker corps, with Jaheim Thomas, Tackett Curtis, and Sebastian Cheeks all committing to UW.
It was a coin flip for me on Chaney or Curtis getting a starting nod, but I went with Chaney due to his experience. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cheeks rise up near the top of the pecking order as well, and sophomore Christian Alliegro will be an exciting player to watch as he looks to build off of the opportunities he had last season.
Starter: Ricardo Hallman (RS JR)
Starter: RJ Delancy III (SR)
Starter: Nyzier Fourqurean (SR)
Backup: Michael Mack II (RS SR)
Backup: Max Lofy (RS SR)
Backup: Jonas Duclona (SO)
Third-Team All-American Ricardo Hallman is back for another season at Wisconsin, adding to the continuity in the secondary. UW will also have returning contributors Austin Brown, Nyzier Fourqurean, and Max Lofy back for another season. Toledo transfer RJ Delancy will provide some versatility with the ability to play in the slot and on the boundary. I see him being the starter, replacing the loss of Jason Maitre.
Keep an eye out for Jonas Duclona, who saw some limited run last season, as a potential rising player in the secondary. Other young talent, including Amare Snowden, Omillio Agard, and AJ Tisdell, will also be worth monitoring for spot reps.
Starter: Hunter Wohler (SR)
Starter: Preston Zachman (RS SR) or Kamo’i Latu (SR)
Backup: Braedyn Moore (RS FR)
Backup: Austin Brown (JR)
You couldn’t ask for anything better than having Hunter Wohler back for one last ride with the Wisconsin football program. He may share the field with Preston Zachman or Kamo’i Latu (if he elects to return for another season).
Outside of those two, the Wisconsin Badgers have some youth at the position to turn to. Look for redshirt freshman Braedyn Moore and rising junior Austin Brown to be in the mix as well.
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