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Wisconsin Football Transfer Portal Class Superlatives



Wisconsin Football transfer QB Nick Evers
Quarterback Nick Evers (7) throws a pass during the University of Oklahoma's first Spring football practice at the Everest Training Center in Norman, Okla. on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

While the weather may not exactly show it, spring practice is just around the corner for Wisconsin football. Let’s take a look at look at the players that have come through the mighty transfer portal.

Most likely to win a game: K-Nathaniel Vakos (Ohio)

As a true freshman for the Ohio Bobcats, he was 49-50 (98%) on PAT’s and 22-27 (81.5%) on field goals.  He had four games with two or more field goals, highlighted by the 4-5 game against W. Michigan.

This could end up being one of the more spirited battles of spring practice and preseason camp, with Nate Van Zelst and Vito Calvaruso both returning.

What puts Vakos over the top are two things: his leg and his clutchness. He hit a 55-yarder against Western Michigan. In their bowl game against Wyoming, he nailed a 46-yard FG to send the game into overtime, one of the three field goals he made in his first bowl appearance.

Biggest Upside: WR- C.J. Williams (USC)

Coming out of national high school powerhouse Mater Dei as the 73rd-highest-rated player in the country in 2022, he just couldn’t find his niche at USC.

That should not be an issue with his move into the Wisconsin football program.

He is coming to play for an offensive coordinator who has overseen the development of some of the premier wide receivers in the NFL.

During his two-year stint at Ole Miss, Phil Longo coached both A.J. Brown and D.K Metcalf, both 2nd-rounders. He also coached Dawson Know, who went in the 3rd round to Buffalo.

Instant Impact: WR Bryson Green (Oklahoma State)

This could be a number of different players in this portal class, really. There is more than enough talent to go around and there are potentially new five starters that will be calling Madison their new home

But with the changes that will be coming to the offensive schemes, Green gets the nod because of his already-established history. Coming from the pass-happy Big 12, where defense is optional, Green hauled in 36 receptions for 584 yards and 5 TDs last year.

Class MVP: QB Nick Evers (Oklahoma)

This might surprise some people, as the consensus doesn’t even have him starting this year. So how can a player not even starting his first season be the class MVP?

Because I believe that by the time Nick Evers completes his career at Wisconsin, he could be the all-time leading passer in yards.

While that’s a bold statement, here’s the logic. Darrell Bevell is UW’s all-time leader in passing yardage with 7,686. The quarterback position averages over 3,600 yards per season under Phil Longo.

I believe Evers will be the starter in 2024. If he stays and is the 3-year starter, I think he will obliterate Bevell’s mark.

Most surprising transfer: QB Braedyn Locke (Mississippi State)

When Wisconsin football hired Luke Fickell as their new head coach and he brought in Phil Locke, I knew players would flock to be around the offensive innovation that would become the UW’s new hallmark.

Perhaps that is what drew Locke to Wisconsin because I think he’s going to have a tough time getting on the field.

It’s not that I think that he isn’t a good quarterback, but I think Evers could be a generational talent. Evers is the protypical dual-threat quarterback that Longo utilizes in his offensive system.

Most disruptive: DE Darian Varner (Temple)

This was also a surprisingly difficult decision, as edge rusher Jeff Pietrowski is also a viable contender. Leg injuries on linebackers initially make me wary so Varner gets the selection.

According to Pro Football Focus, Varner averaged a score of 72.7 as a pass rusher. He had 35 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and 8 sacks.

When Temple played Tulsa in week 8, Varner wreaked havoc on the Golden Hurricanes with seven tackles, four sacks, and three hurries.

At 6’2″, 260 lbs and a sub 4.9 40-yard dash, he has both the size and quickness to be a force against the likes of Minnesota, Iowa and the rest of the Big Ten.

Best Offensive Lineman: RT Joe Huber (Cincinnati)

Both Joe Huber and Jake Renfro followed Fickell from Cincinnati to the Wisconsin football program. Right tackle also promises to be a heated position battle between Soph(RS) Riley Mahlman and Huber, who is also a red-shirted sophmore.

Huber comes from the Bearcats having started the entire season last year, whereas Mahlman from week 10 on.

According to PFF’s blocking statisitcs, Huber graded out overall at 80.6, compared to Mahlman’s 58.0 . His season average as a pass blocker was 71.5.  In 488 snaps in a pass-blocking role, Huber only allowed four sacks and five hurries.

However, Huber’s toughest competition was in week 1 against Arkansas, where in 51 snaps he allowed both a sack and a hurry, earning a pass blocking grade of 52.4.

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