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Wisconsin Football: Transfers to Watch in Spring Practice



Wisconsin football wide receiver CJ Williams transferred to UW from USC

Wisconsin football transfer additions to watch in spring ball

The Wisconsin football program will begin its spring practice this weekend. After an offseason full of changes, the Badgers faithful will get their first look at the new roster.

With 13 transfer portal additions, there will be plenty of newcomers who can contribute right away. From dynamic receivers to staunch offensive linemen, Wisconsin has plenty of playmakers looking to make a strong first impression.

Here’s a look at some transfer additions who could break out in spring ball.

CJ Williams

The wide receiver position is one that underwent the most change. With the additions of CJ Williams, Bryson Green, Will Pauling, and Quincy Burroughs, the receiver room has been completely revamped.

Williams, who comes to Madison as the highest-rated wide receiver in program history, could be among the most likely candidates to break out. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound pass catcher was a top 10 receiver in the class of 2020 and was a top-five player in California. Although he didn’t get a chance to contribute at USC, he’s in a prime position to be a difference-maker in the air raid offense. 

Nick Evers

With the addition of Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin will have its QB1 for the 2023 season. However, one of UW’s other QB additions will be a player to watch in the spring.

Evers, who transferred from Oklahoma, is one of Wisconsin’s best options for the future at quarterback. Evers was a four-star recruit and a top-10 signal caller in the 2022 class. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 2,366 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for 697 yards and ten touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. Evers’ expansive skillset makes him an intriguing piece to UW’s future, and he’ll be a player to watch at spring practice.

Jake Renfro

Renfro, who followed Luke Fickell to Madison from Cincinnati, is a transfer who will likely make an immediate difference. With former center Joe Tippmann in the NFL Draft, Wisconsin has found its center for 2023.

Renfro made 19 starts in two seasons at Cincy and was integral to one of the nation’s best offensive lines. With the junior at center, Cincinnati ranked ninth in the country in yards per play. They also finished second in rushing yards per play in AAC, earning Renfro a first-team All-AAC nomination. The 6-foot-3, 308-pound center will be an essential piece to Wisconsin’s offensive line, and he should be a player to watch as we get the first look at UW’s new offense.

Darian Varner

Varner, who transferred from Temple, comes to the Wisconsin football program looking to make an impact on UW’s defensive line. With Keeanu Benton in the NFL Draft, Varner has landed in a perfect position.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive lineman was a standout player at Temple. In two seasons, Varner registered 57 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In 2022, Varner earned All-AAC recognition after coming in second in tackles for loss and sacks per game for the Owls.

Varner can break out in spring ball and earn a potential starting spot. With Badgers’ stalwarts like Gio Paez and Rodas Johnson returning, the defensive line will be a group to watch.

Will Pauling

Pauling has been slightly overlooked due to the high-profile signings of CJ Williams and Bryson Green. However, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound receiver could cement his spot in the rotation in spring.

The former Bearcats receiver hauled in 12 catches for 122 yards in 2022 before suffering an MCL sprain. However, he seems to be back in full health. Pauling brings a unique level of explosiveness off the line and speed at the slot receiver position. As one of the fastest players on the roster, he’ll surely be a deep threat in the revamped air raid offense.

Pauling will be a player to watch in spring as he vies for a spot in the rotation. Due to the saturation of wide receivers, he may not earn a starting nod. However, Pauling looks to be a severe threat in UW’s pass game.

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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.