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Wisconsin Football: Unpacking a Turbulent Week in the Transfer Portal

The transfer portal has been open for one week, but the Wisconsin football program has already been through a lot.



Wisconsin Badgers football head coach, Luke Fickell
Nov 18, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell argues against a roughing the passer penalty during the first quarter of their game against Nebraska at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers football team’s recruiting department have plunged head-first into the transfer portal frenzy.

The Badgers have worked quickly to seize opportunities while recalibrating after losing a few players of their own to the portal, creating a few new roster holes.

The transfer portal officially opened on December 4, and the Wisconsin Badgers swiftly navigated through sending out offers, commitments, de-commitments, re-commitments, and internal losses, reshaping key positions for the upcoming season.

Let’s look at a few things we’ve learned about Wisconsin this week.

Wisconsin Football is Pursuing a Veteran Quarterback…Again

For the second consecutive offseason, Wisconsin football is actively seeking a seasoned quarterback in the transfer portal.

Tyler Van Dyke, previously a Badgers target in the 2020 recruiting class, took an official visit to Madison this past weekend.

For his career, he amassed 7,478 passing yards, 54 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions during his tenure at Miami, making him a sought-after option to lead Wisconsin’s young quarterback room. He could give the Badgers’ young signal callers some extra time to develop.

If Van Dyke doesn’t materialize, the Wisconsin Badgers will likely turn to DeQuan Finn from Toledo, who was the MAC Player of the Year in 2023 with 2,657 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, and a threat on the ground with 563 rushing yards and seven scores.

Some reporters have suggested Finn is the Wisconsin football team’s top option at QB, but only time will tell. What we do know is they’re serious about adding experience.

Badgers Pass-Rush Getting Some Reinforcements

The outside linebacker room wasn’t very productive in 2023 and quickly became a significant concern the Wisconsin football coaching staff wanted to rectify through the transfer portal.

Leon Lowery, an impressive 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior transfer from Syracuse, eventually committed after rollercoaster recruitment that doesn’t need re-hasing.

His stats of 71 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, over two seasons with the Orange add depth to the Wisconsin Badgers’ edge rushers and might be the favorite to start opposite Darryl Peterson.

The potential addition of John Pius from William & Mary — who visited this past weekend, would further fortify this position group. But we know Wisconsin saw this as a major area of need and aren’t done adding.

Wisconsin Football Still Revamping Wide Receiver Room

Wisconsin’s wide receiver unit faces another transformation, having experienced significant movement last year.

Recent departures of key players like Keontez Lewis, Chimere Dike, and Skyler Bell, alongside coach Mike Brown’s move to Notre Dame, signal plenty of change this offseason.

However, the Badgers’ potential future lies in promising talents like Will Pauling, Vinny Anthony, and Trech Kekahuna in the slot, along with incoming recruit Kyan Berry-Johnson.

The Wisconsin football team aims to reinforce its boundary wideouts with returning players like Bryson Green, CJ Williams, and Quincy Burroughs, plus emerging talents like Tommy McIntosh and Chris Brooks Jr.

Wisconsin sent out a few new offers for Tyrell Henry and Cyrus Allen, aiming to bolster their receiving corps. Henry’s stats from Michigan State and potential addition to Wisconsin illustrate the team’s determination to strengthen its lineup for the upcoming season.

The Air raid offense didn’t find its stride last season, so adding a few differing skill sets could be the key to unlocking things.

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Trevor Lovec is a freelance sports writer, correspondent, and a diehard Northern Iowa fan. He covers Wisconsin football & basketball, plus a little Badgers recruiting for