As expected, Wisconsin released its first depth chart of the 2015 season on Monday. There aren't many, if any, "surprises," although it's always interesting to parse through the two-deep and glean some conclusions.
Starting from the top, junior Bart Houston has secured the No. 2 quarterback position behind Joel Stave. That was widely expected given Houston's "experience" -- although he has appeared in only eight games, he's older than all of the other viable candidates: redshirt freshman D.J. Gillins and true freshman Alex Hornibrook. This position is certainly Wisconsin's most pivotal -- quarterback is at essentially every program, but considering Stave's previous inconsistency, the reserve depth is especially important for the Badgers.
At running back, junior Dare Ogunbowale gets the No. 2 nod behind Corey Clement. Clement was penciled in as the starter since the moment Melvin Gordon left Wisconsin; the backup spot seemed up for the taking between Ogunbowale, redshirt freshmen Taiwan Deal and Caleb Kinlaw, true freshman Bradrick Shaw and junior Serge Trezy. That said, early reports from fall camp had Ogunbowale as one of the top contributors, and it seemed as though he secured the No. 2 spot relatively quickly.
Wide receiver is always "interesting" at Wisconsin, to say the least. Or, err, most. For years now, there's been an incredible void behind the No. 1 wideout. Alex Erickson is that guy, but can Tanner McEvoy give him some help? Having the versatile 6'6 redshirt senior on the outside certainly can't hurt, though it is interesting he's still listed as a safety on Wisconsin's official roster. Don't be surprised if McEvoy also gets some defensive reps, as he has also looked comfortable on the back end of the defense. Behind him at receiver are two names we largely expected to be here: Reggie Love and Robwert Wheelwright.
At offensive line, Wisconsin is a bit younger than usual -- and also injury tested from fall camp, which isn't purely 100 percent negative. From left to right, the o-line consists of senior Tyler Marz, redshirt freshman Michael Deiter, junior Dan Voltz, junior Walker Williams and sophomore Hayden Biegel.
Defensively, the depth chart shakes out anticipated. What's more intriguing is how the new starters can live up to the reputations of those who came before them. Players to look at in particular: defensive ends, Arthur Goldberg and Chikwe Obasih; outside linebackers Vince Biegel and Joe Schobert; inside linebackers T.J. Edwards and Leon Jacobs.
The secondary might very well be the strength of the defense: now a junior, Sojourn Shelton looks primed to become one of the Big Ten's best cornerbacks, while senior Michael Caputo is the leader of the whole defense at strong safety. Junior safety Leo Musso also had a strong camp and is taking over the free safety role.
On special teams, it's once again sophomore Rafael Gaglianone handling kicks and redshirt senior Drew Meyer punting. The return unit is Erickson on punts and sophomore Natrell Jamerson on kicks, both taking over for the graduated Kenzel Doe.
One final note: Look at the second-team defensive depth chart, and you'll notice two unfamiliar names: redshirt freshman Ryan Connelly and true fershman Chris Orr. Previously a walk-on, Connelly earned a scholarship last week along with reserve long snapper Zander Neuville. Orr, a freshman from DeSoto, Texas, was a former three-star recruit who took advantage of early reps in camp. Terrific efforts from those two to crack Wisconsin's initial two-deep.
|QB||Joel Stave (Sr.)||Bart Houston (Jr.)|
|RB||Corey Clement (Jr.)||Dare Ogunbowale (Jr.)|
|FB||Derek Watt (Sr.)||Austin Ramesh (So.)|
|WR||Alex Erickson (Sr.)||Reggie Love (Jr.)|
|WR||Tanner McEvoy (Sr.)||Robert Wheelwright (Jr.)|
|TE||Austin Traylor (Sr.)||Troy Fumagalli (So.)|
|LT||Tyler Marz (Sr.)||Jacob Maxwell (R-Fr.)|
|LG||Michael Deiter (R-Fr.)||Ray Ball (Sr.)|
|C||Dan Voltz (Jr.)||Micah Kapoi (R-Fr.)|
|RG||Walker Williams (Jr.)||Micah Kapoi (R-Fr.)|
|RT||Hayden Biegel (So.)||Walker Williams (Jr.)|
|DE||Arthur Goldberg (Jr.)||Jake Keefer (Sr.)|
|NT||Conor Sheehy (So.)||Jeremy Patterson (R-Fr.)|
|DE||Chikwe Obasih (So.)||Alec James (So.)|
|OLB||Vince Biegel (Jr.)||Jesse Hayes (Sr.)|
|ILB||T.J. Edwards (R-Fr.)||Ryan Connelly (R-Fr.)|
|ILB||Leon Jacobs (Jr.)||Chris Orr (Fr.)|
|OLB||Joe Schobert (Sr.)||Jack Cichy (So.)|
|CB||Darius Hillary (Sr.)||Natrell Jamerson (So.)|
|SS||Michael Caputo (Sr.)||D'Cota Dixon (So.)|
|FS||Leo Musso (Jr.)||Lubern Figaro (So.)|
|CB||Sojourn Shelton (Jr.)||Derrick Tindal (So.)|
|P||Drew Meyer (Sr.)||P.J. Roskowski (R-Fr.)|
|FG||Rafael Gaglianone (So.)||Jack Russell (Sr.)|
|KO||Andrew Endicott (Jr.)||P.J. Roskowski (R-Fr.)|
|LS||Connor Udelhoven (Jr.)||Zander Neuville (R-Fr.)|
|H||Drew Meyer (Sr.)||P.J. Roskowski (R-Fr.)|
|PR||Alex Erickson (Sr.)||Sojourn Shelton (Jr.)|
|KR||Natrell Jamerson (So.)||Robert Wheelwright (Jr.)|