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Zach Brown to leave Badgers, transfer elsewhere

Brown's departure does not necessarily aid chances of adding Wilson

Fifth-year senior running back Zach Brown will not return to the Badgers this fall and will explore his transfer options.

This is a smart move for Brown who is set to graduate from UW in August and will be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school if he completes his academic requirements. Brown has always had the talent to start for other FBS teams -- even other Big Ten teams -- but has been buried on the depth chart since his freshman year when he rushed for 568 yards.

"I've had a great experience at the University of Wisconsin but just felt it was in my best interests to explore other options," Brown said in a statement.

Brown's transfer will also help the Badgers, who were sitting at 86 scholarships -- one over the 85 scholarship limit.

That doesn't mean Wisconsin can't continue exploring the possibility of adding former North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson -- which was still an option even when UW was sitting at 86 scholarships -- it just means the Badgers have to get down to 85 by the fall. Every team loses scholarship players in the offseason and it's very possible Brown will not be the only one to leave the team in the next few months.

"We would like to thank Zach for all his contributions over the last four years," Bielema said in a statement. "He decided it was in his best interests to explore his transfer options. Because he has taken care of his business academically, he has the chance to go somewhere and play right away. He is a great person and player and has handled himself the right way throughout his four years at Wisconsin. We wish him the best of luck in his future."

Brown's departure will also free up more carries for talented redshirt freshman running back Jeff Lewis and incoming freshman running back Melvin Gordon.