Connect with us


Where Does Wisconsin Football Go From Here at QB?

Can we project Braedyn Locke, Nick Evers, or Mabrey Mettauer’s performance with Wisconsin football?



Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Braedyn Locke throws a pass against Iowa
Oct 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Braedyn Locke (18) throws a pass during the third quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Back in December of 2022. After the commitments of Nick Evers & Mabrey Mettauer to Wisconsin Football, I decided to ask the question…how “hyped” should I be?:

So I decided to find out!

When trying to dig into the data, I found out pretty quickly that scraping the data off of 247 Sports would be extremely difficult to look back at 15 Years of information. So, the data below looks at the Top 50 QBs from the 2018-2021 Classes.

Below is a look at the analysis I did way back in December. I’ll add a piece at the end to incorporate Braedyn Locke.

Analyzing Recruiting Ratings and Debut Season Pass Yards/ATT

X-AXIS: 247 Composite Ranking (0.8400-1.000)

Y-AXIS: 1st Season of Action (>20 ATTs) YPA

What is this DATA telling me???

Looking at this, you can see a significant data trend. This is largely due to a much higher number of .8600-.9000 Rated Players having less than 20 ATTs in their 1st Season of Action. Which I defined as less than a “Full Season” and consequently resulting in a 0 YPA. If you strip those 0’s in YPA and create a Box & Whisker Plot (Graph 2), you can see that those tiers align themselves quite nicely with STARS.

However, one thing that interested me is although 3-Star Players have a ceiling that is lower than 4-STAR Players, the variation in YPA AVG is SIGNIFICANTLY less than 4-Star Players.

How I am thinking about this while looking at the data is threefold:

  • 5 STARS are a sure bet to come in and play at an elite level (OBVIOUSLY)
  • 4 STARS can come in and play just as good as a 5 STAR, but they can also play worse than a 3 star… MUCH worse.
  • 3 STARS will be pretty dependably mediocre…with the occasional ‘Diamond in the Rough’
    • Think Dillon Gabriel, the now Oklahoma QB who had >3K Passing Yards & ~9.1 YPA in his 1st Season at UCF

Looking at Recruits’ Ratings and their Career AVG, what does their Pass Yards/ATT look like?

X-AXIS: 247 Composite Ranking (0.8400-1.000)

Y-AXIS: Career AVG YPA (>50 ATTs) YPA

What is this DATA telling me???

Looking at Career Numbers (Career #’s Divided by Seasons Played ~Proxy for their ‘AVG’ Production over a career).

We can see yet again an eerily similar trend based on Recruiting Rating & YPA. Many 3-star and Low 4-star QBs never make it onto the field and contribute. The number of those players gets lower as you increase in rating.

What is also interesting when you look at the Box & Whisker plot falls into four key takeaways:

  • The ‘Floor’ over a career for 5 Stars/4 Stars/3 Stars who actually make it onto the field is almost identical in YPA
  • 3 Stars continue to have the most predictable outcomes. However, the ceiling is significantly lower over a career
  • 4 Stars have a much tighter distribution around their ‘AVG’, meaning a significant portion of 4 Stars are consistently better or as good as the best 3 Stars
  • 5 Stars have a slightly broader distribution than 4 Stars, but that broader distribution is an increase to the high end >8.25 YPA+

We can see the ‘Tiers’ emerge for YPA, but let’s break this down from three angles:

Three Angles:

  1. Passing Yards Season AVG.
  2. YPA
  3. TD:INT Ratio

Career/Season AVG:

So, for a player’s ‘Career’ the implied Average Season Production:

5 STAR: Passing Yards: 2,485 | YPA: 7.33 | TD:INT Ratio: 3.81

4 STAR: Passing Yards: 1,070 | YPA: 5.14 | TD:INT Ratio: 1.73

3 STAR: Passing Yards: 812 | YPA: 3.98 | TD:INT Ratio: 1.57

75th Percentile (Career) by STAR:

So for a player’s ‘Career’ the implied Average Season Production for a player in the 75th Percentile:

5 STAR: Passing Yards: 3,180 | YPA: 8.8 | TD:INT Ratio: 5.8

4 STAR: Passing Yards: 1,673 | YPA: 7.9 | TD:INT Ratio: 2.3

3 STAR: Passing Yards: 1,052 | YPA: 7.2 | TD:INT Ratio: 2.0

The takeaway for me on this is over the course of their careers:

  • A top 5 Star will produce, on average, 3,180 Yards on 8.8 Yards/ATT and a TD:INT ratio of nearly 6:1, YEAH MUST BE NICE LOL
  • A top 4 Star will produce over the course of a 4-year career about 1,673 on 7.9 Yards/ATT and a TD:INT ratio of 2.3
  • A top 3 Star will produce over the course of a 4-year career about 1,052 on 7.2 Yards/ATT and a TD:INT ratio of 2.0

So obviously, getting 4-Star players with the hopes of him being in the upper echelon of his like-rated counterparts is better than a 3-Star guy.

So, can we project Locke/Evers/Mettauer to Wisconsin Football Success?

I did the same analysis for Locke, Evers, and Mettauer as I did above. But now I split and looked at just Low 4 Stars (0.8900-.9199), High 4 Stars (.9200-.9799). Evers is a High 4-Star Prospect & Mettauer + Locke are both Low 4-Star prospects for Wisconsin football, according to 247 Sports.

Wisconsin Badgers Football QB recruiting data

Wisconsin Badgers Football QB recruiting data

Wisconsin Badgers Football QB recruiting data

Wisconsin Badgers Football QB recruiting data

I looked at them at the 95th percentile. To which they are pretty dead, even in terms of production (Low 4-Star vs. High 4-Star):

95th Percentile High 4-Star vs. Low 4-Star Prospects:

High 4 Star: Passing Yards: 2,564 | YPA: 8.95 | TD:INT Ratio: 2.33

Low 4 Star: Passing Yards: 2,449 | YPA: 8.56 | TD:INT Ratio: 5.00

There is a missing piece to the equation, and that is how good is Wisconsin Football OC Phil Longo at developing QB Talent?

Looking at Phil Longo’s Recruits:


Drake Maye: Pass Yards: 4,204 | YPA: 8.5 | TD:INT Ratio: 5.14

Sam Howell: Pass Yards: 3,428 | YPA: 9.2 | TD:INT Ratio: 4.00

Matt Corral: Pass Yards: 2,072 | YPA: 9.1 | TD:INT Ratio: 2.48

(Low 4-STARs)

John Rhys Plumlee: Pass Yards: 1,128 | YPA: 7.2 | TD:INT Ratio: 1.9


Jordan Ta’amu: Pass Yards: 2,800 | YPA: 9.48 | TD:INT Ratio: 2.5

When looking at what Phil Longo has done from the standpoint of identifying QB Talent and then developing that talent, I’d say his track record gets better, and better the more you look into it!! While he only coached Matt Corral for more than one year and didn’t coach Rhys Plumlee at all but identified his talent, I think we can all make a pretty strong assertion that their “relative” underperformance to Phil Longo Players (High Company) is due to the fact he wasn’t able to coach them up.

Because when you look at Drake Maye and Sam Howell and how well they’ve Performed, and also Jordan Ta’amu, a 3 Star JC Transfer to Ole Miss when Longo came on as OC and his outperformance of a 3 Star Ranking.

We might have to start calling Longo the QB Whisperer!!! We haven’t seen that with Tanner Mordecai this year, and that has been one of the most unfortunate developments this season. I feel for Tanner, as this is definitely not how he envisioned his last go in CFB.

Where does Wisconsin Football go from here at the QB Position?

In the aggregate, Stars matter…. and anybody who uses anecdotal evidence to argue the contrary should have their opinion heavily discounted! Sure, 4 Stars are prone to a much wider range of outcomes than 3 Star QBs, but as we can see over the course of a career, the floors are nearly identical, but the ceilings are certainly NOT.

Right now, Myles Burkett is the #2 guy behind Braedyn Locke. But what came as a shock but shouldn’t have is that there is open competition between Nick Evers and Burkett. You’re always in a ‘Win Now’ mode, and anybody who thinks you should just hand Evers the keys to the 2nd String Job & Reps. The door is right over there. He’s going to have to earn them! But…we as fans should hold out the hope that he can beat out Burkett because the ceiling is significantly higher with Evers.

It’s. Just. The. Facts.

Some may be gunshy to make such a proclamation because Mertz wasn’t the guy we thought/wished he would be. Given his first outing as a starter. Where he went 20/21 | 248 Yards | 11.8 YPA. We thought he would be the guy at the top end of the 4-STAR Spectrum. When, in reality, he was a SLIGHTLY Below-Aaverage QB on almost every metric but was particularly mediocre on the one most important to UW’s success. That being his TD:INT Ratio.

(We now may have to caveat Mertz with: In a Paul Chryst System)

This doesn’t mean that every 4-Star QB that UW recruits will perform like Mertz. There will probably be worse ones, but there will definitely be better ones. That ambiguity is something I don’t think we were prepared for with Mertz.

We were very, very used to the 3-STAR, dependably average guys (Stocco/Stave/Hornibrook), and we loved the 3-STAR ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ (Tolzien/Coan). So, to get a guy with so much promise and to have him perform at the dependably average level….stung. And those wounds got a little deeper with Mordecai, I feel like for some fans.

I don’t foresee that being the case moving forward because, by the looks of it, instead of the room being filled with 3-STARS where you’re more likely to find that ‘Diamond in the Rough’. It will be filled with 4-Stars, where the likelihood of counteracting a Mertz with a guy like Drake Maye/Sam Howell/Matt Corral has doubled by bringing in Braedyn Locke, Nick Evers, and Mabrey Mettaruer in the 24 Class.

Stay calm, the 3-Year outlook still remains quite strong for Wisconsin Football There is no sure thing with any Transfer/Recruit, but the more stars you have, the higher your ceiling is. THAT’S A FACT. You couple that with the fact that our OC has an extremely proven track record of taking his QBs and getting the most out of their production capacity.

Whether it’s Braedyn Locke, Nick Evers, Myles Burkett, or Mabrey Mettauer. We’ve got plenty of irons in the fire now, one of them will get HOT soon..

The important thing to remember from this analysis is that in Year 1 of (Locke/Evers/Mettauer) actually getting on the field. 4-Stars are highly volatile in the sense that the outcomes from a Total Yards/YPA/TD:INT Ratio vary tremendously.


Throughout their Careers, we’ll have a guy who can ascend and play to that talent level identified as a HS Recruit. A level much higher than a 3-Star Prospect can achieve! Which is FANTASTIC news for Wisconsin Football. If Locke doesn’t dazzle in Year 1, don’t call for his head. There’s still time for development. The good news is if he doesn’t, we have more 4-Stars waiting in the wings. A situation we haven’t ever had in Wisconsin Football history.

Let’s stay engaged in the Luke Fickell Era and find out which QB will elevate to that 4-Star Ceiling, and bring us to the level of Football we know this Progam can get to!

On Wisconsin!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read our work at For more Wisconsin Badgers Athletics and Big Ten content, follow us on Twitter & Facebook. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. You can also follow me on Twitter @GardYourFickell

Also, be sure to check out our shop, subscribe to our newsletter, and the BadgerNotes After Dark podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all other streaming platforms. Because of your support, we have become one of the fastest-growing independent media outlets focused on giving a voice to the fans!

Gard Your Fickell is a leading authority on Wisconsin Badgers analytics, specializing in dissecting the intricate data behind football and basketball. With a deep passion for the game and an analytical mindset, Gard Your Fickell offers readers a unique perspective on the Badgers performance.