Struck by injuries to its already young, inexperienced core, Wisconsin's secondary needed a boost as summer approaches. They gained just that this weekend, as junior college cornerback Tekeim Reynard from Independence (Kan.) Community College committed to Wisconsin on Saturday. Reynard was recruited by first-year safeties coach Bill Busch, and Friday's official visit was enough to elevate Wisconsin past offers from Colorado, Georgia Southern and Kentucky.
Reynard is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound cornerback originally who will be eligible to play this fall. He has three years of eligibility remaining after notching 88 tackles, two tackles and five pass break-ups in 2012. The Virginia Beach, Va., native graduated from Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake and is the Badgers' third JUCO transfer of Gary Andersen's first class at UW. Arizona Western College quarterback Tanner McEvoy and Fresno City Community College safety Donnell Vercher were the first two.
I'm now a Wisconsin Badger! Can't wait to ball out ! I'm truly blessed ! I thank God for everything he has blessed me with !— Tekeim Reynard (@KINGREYNARD7) May 5, 2013
"I knew I wanted to be a Badger after talking to the coaching staff and them telling me about the new schemes of their defense," Reynard told BadgerNation.com. "They told me how I would fit in and elevate their defense. I feel excited about it and can't wait to dominate. This is just the beginning of something special.
"After having a great talk with the coaching staff and players such as Reggie Mitchell and Dezmen Southward, they really told me how I could help the program, come in and be an impact player to elevate the defense."
This spring, the secondary identified itself as arguably the greatest weakness on a defense that is transitioning to a base 3-4 defense. Sophomore Darius Hillary is the only cornerback with starting experience, which consists of just one game. He's projected to start opposite junior Peniel Jean, and that's enough inexperience to warrant concern even before the rash of injuries that hit the secondary. Junior Devin Gaulden had a setback following knee surgery in the winter and required another operation. Redshirt freshman Hugs Etienne also had shoulder surgery, though both are expected back for the fall.
Reynard is in position to battle for significant playing time, and could possibly bump Hillary for the second cornerback spot. He could also play nickel, which would allow the Badgers to again reshuffle their secondary. Redshirt senior Dezmen Southward could be shifted back to his natural free safety position, which would give UW a solid trio with Vercher and redshirt freshman Reggie Mitchell.