David Gilreath's four year stretch as a Wisconsin Badger ended at the 2011 Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Gilreath's kick return for a touchdown on the first play against Ohio State could be argued as the play that set the tone for not only the Ohio State game but also the rest of the season. For the four years that Gilreath was on campus, it was a pretty good bet that he'd be the one returning kicks and punts as long as he was healthy. Gilreath's departure has been overshadowed by the departures of J.J. Watt, Scott Tolzien, Gabe Carimi, and John Clay, but the fact remains that Wisconsin needs a new kick returner and punt returner for next season.
Enter wide receiver Kenzel Doe, an incoming recruit from Oak Ridge, NC. Doe is 5-9 and 170 pounds, much like the 5-11 and 169 pound stature of Gilreath. And it already sounds like Wisconsin's coaches envision Doe as having a very similar role as Gilreath, who ended his career with the Big Ten record for most career kickoff return yards. "They said they want me to come in and be the punt and kick returner," said Doe. "He (Gilreath) was a four-year starter on special teams too and I’m going to have to work hard to get on the field.
Doe will have a leg up on every other freshman in that he is already on campus for this semester. While it's always hard to project which freshmen will make major contributions the first year they are on campus (James White and Chris Borland came out of nowhere), all indications point to Doe having a large impact in Madison from the very beginning.
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