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Wisconsin depth chart released ahead of opener vs. LSU

A look at Wisconsin’s first official two-deep of 2016.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

Eight days away from their season opener against No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field, the Wisconsin Badgers released their official depth chart on Friday. Good timing: we made our final projections earlier Friday morning for the offense and defense.

Observations on offense:

  • Alec Ingold over Austin Ramesh as first-team fullback is intriguing, but not surprising. Both got reps with the first-team offense, and Ramesh received a significant amount of reps behind Derek Watt. Position coach John Settle mentioned Ingold is a physical player. I still think Ramesh gets in there for reps during the season.
  • Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal are listed as second-team tailbacks. Both should see the field in certain situations.
  • Kyle Penniston gets the nod on paper over redshirt senior Eric Steffes as No. 2 tight end. The redshirt freshman has impressed with his pass-catching ability. I still feel Steffes, known as a solid run-blocker, will get playing time.
  • Listing Micah Kapoi and Jon Dietzen as first-team "OR" designations shows there's still some unsettled position battles. Kapoi has experience playing left and right guard from last season, while Dietzen has the potential to be a special lineman at Wisconsin. The only thing that's held him back this fall camp is a head injury that kept him out for around a week.
  • Offensive lineman Brett Connors is a very versatile player. He's listed as No. 2 at left tackle, center and right tackle. If either Ryan Ramczyk or Jake Maxwell fall to injury, he'll need to step up quickly.

Week 1 offense depth chart

First-team Second-team
Quarterback Bart Houston Alex Hornibrook
Running back Corey Clement Taiwan Deal/Dare Ogunbowale
Fullback Alec Ingold Austin Ramesh
Wide receiver 1 Robert Wheelwright Reggie Love
Wide receiver 2 Jazz Peavy George Rushing
Tight end Troy Fumagalli Kyle Penniston
Left tackle Ryan Ramczyk Brett Connors
Left guard Micah Kapoi OR Jon Dietzen
Center Michael Deiter Brett Connors
Right guard Beau Benzschawel Micah Kapoi
Right tackle Jacob Maxwell Brett Connors

Observations on defense:

  • Nothing surprising on the defensive line. There's not a senior in the two-deep, and it's still an experienced group.
  • No T.J. Edwards listed, so I'm not necessarily sure what that means for his status next Saturday. Assuming he's not playing, Chris Orr and Jack Cichy shouldn't drop off in production.
  • Former walk-on Ryan Connelly is the lone backup for both inside linebacker spots. He's had a solid two fall camps, and will be called upon if injuries pile up at Wisconsin's richest position group.
  • Two true freshmen broke into the two-deep, which isn't surprising based off of our initial projections published earlier today. Caesar Williams appears to be the fourth cornerback, beating out redshirt freshman Titus Booker for that spot after an impressive fall camp. I thought Booker would still hold the spot, but then again, I'm not a position coach.
  • Arrington Farrar appears to be the backup to D'Cota Dixon at strong safety, rather than free safety.
  • Patrick Johnson found a home at free safety behind redshirt senior Leo Musso. Our initial projections thought he and fellow true freshman Eric Burrell would be in line to contribute early on after their performances over fall camp. Depending upon the defense's subpackages, I wouldn't doubt seeing redshirt junior Joe Ferguson on the field.

Week 1 defense depth chart

First-team Second-team
Defensive end Conor Sheehy Billy Hirschfeld
Nose guard Olive Sagapolu Garrett Rand
Defensive end Chikwe Obasih OR Alec James
Outside linebacker Vince Biegel Zack Baun
Inside linebacker Chris Orr Ryan Connelly
Inside linebacker Jack Cichy Ryan Connelly
Outside linebacker T.J. Watt Garrett Dooley
Cornerback Sojourn Shelton Natrell Jamerson
Free safety Leo Musso Patrick Johnson
Strong safety D'Cota Dixon Arrington Farrar
Cornerback Derrick Tindal Caesar Williams

Observations on special teams:

  • As reports confirmed earlier this week, true freshman Anthony Lotti secured the starting punter spot over walk-on P.J. Rosowski
  • That doesn't mean the Stoughton native won't be depended upon, as he beat out Andrew Endicott for the No. 1 kickoff specialist spot.
  • It's interesting that Wisconsin mentioned who the holder will be (#SpecialistsArePeopleToo). A third punter, Connor Allen, will hold for junior Rafael Gaglianone.
  • It's solidified that redshirt junior Jazz Peavy will return punts, taking over for Alex Erickson a year ago.
  • Corey Clement is the No. 2 kickoff returner. I can only imagine the returns from the 5'11, 227-pound back, especially if he's recovered his speed from sports hernia surgery from a year ago.

Week 1 special teams depth chart

First-team Second-team
Punter Anthony Lotti P.J. Rosowski
Placekicker Rafael Gaglianone Andrew Endicott
Kickoff specialist P.J. Rosowski Andrew Endicott
Longsnapper Connor Udelhoven Zander Neuville
Holder Connor Allen P.J. Rosowski
Punt returner Jazz Peavy Sojourn Shelton
Kickoff returner Natrell Jamerson Corey Clement