Anyone who followed Luke Fickell’s head coaching career knew there would be an emphasis on adding plus height/length defensive backs because having unique and versatile defensive backs is his calling card. Since taking over the Wisconsin football program, he wasted no time putting his stamp on the Badgers secondary.
Wisconsin added talented players like four-star defensive backs Braedyn Moore and Amare Snowden to its 2023 recruiting cycle, in addition to three-star corner Jonas Duclona who enrolled early and will likely see meaningful snaps next season.
Wisconsin football entered spring practice with a largely inexperienced cornerback room. But the Badgers left feeling good about their top three options, which consist of Alexander Smith (43 games played, eight starts) and Ricardo Hallman (12 games played, eight starts), and Boston College transfer Jason Maitre (43 games played, 30 starts).
But after the top three, there was a massive, potentially concerning drop-off in experience among the reserves worth addressing. True freshmen enrollees Jonas Duclona and Jace Arnold ran with the second-team defense, and walk-on Amaun Williams was the backup slot corner.
In addition, Wisconsin football lost three cornerbacks to the transfer portal (or were shown the door) after spring practice: Al Ashford III, Avyonne Jones, and A’Khoury Lyde.
“The back end of our secondary is something that we have some ways to address and try to figure out,” Fickell said after spring practice. “We’ve got some young guys that are going to have to grow up really fast to be a part of it.”
Also worth noting is that previously mentioned four-star cornerback Amare Snowden and three-star A.J. Tisdell will arrive on campus this summer and could factor into the mix.
Wisconsin Football Knows Deficiencies, Working to Correct Them
The Wisconsin football coaching staff has made no secret about their desire to explore upgrades in the portal to address depth concerns. And because they stayed patient, UW found an experienced player with impressive size who could come in and compete immediately for snaps this fall.
That player is Nyzier Fourqurean from Grand Valley State, a former Division 2 All-American who the Badgers flipped from Vanderbilt. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound CB registered 28 tackles, 14 pass deflections, and four interceptions.
With two years of eligibility remaining, Fourqurean will help solidify the Wisconsin football two-deep. It’s probably, if not likely that Fourqurean fills in on the boundary and provides meaningful depth this season while positioning himself to start in Alexander Smith’s spot in 2024 opposite Ricardo Hallman.
From what I’m hearing, Wisconsin’s coaching staff has yet to completely close the door on adding another experienced option to the cornerback room if they can find a good fit with multiple years to contribute.
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