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2018 Wisconsin quarterbacks preview: Alex Hornibrook returns

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Ohhhh yes, it begins.

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Wisconsin vs Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017–18 basketball season is officially over, but fear not Wisconsin Badgers fans. Spring football begins on March 13.

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook capped off his redshirt sophomore campaign with his best performance of the season, completing 23 of 34 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns—with no interceptions—in Wisconsin’s 34–24 win over Miami in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

In a 13–1 season that was highlighted by an undefeated regular season and the Badgers’ second straight New Year’s Six Bowl win, Hornibrook made errors but also stepped up and showed he could recover from mistakes, making the necessary reads and throws to lead this offense.

Wisconsin’s 2018 Quarterbacks

2018 Spring QBs 2018 Eligibility
2018 Spring QBs 2018 Eligibility
Alex Hornibrook R-JR
Jack Coan SO
Kare' Lyles R-SO
Danny Vanden Boom R-FR

Note: Wisconsin’s 2018 spring roster was released on March 12, so this table has been updated accordingly.

2017 Leaders

Alex Hornibrook: 62.26 completion percentage, 2,644 yards, 25 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 148.62 passing efficiency

Who’s Leaving

None

Who’s Returning

Hornibrook, Jack Coan, Karé Lyles, Danny Vanden Boom

Early Enrollees

None

Key Additions

Chase Wolf

Position Overview

Until Wisconsin releases its 2018 spring roster, it appears every quarterback on last year’s roster will return (not that we have heard any different). Wolf will come to Madison in the summer for conditioning, so starting in mid-March, it will presumably be just those four seen last fall under the tutelage of former offensive quality control and newly-minted quarterbacks coach Jon Budmayr.

Hornibrook will have another opportunity to create better chemistry with his receiving targets as well as stretch his limits in the upcoming 15 spring practices to build upon last season’s performance. Remember: interceptions in the spring are OK, especially when one is attempting to master timing among other quarterback skills I am far unqualified to analyze or speak about.

Barring injury or another set of unforeseen circumstances, Hornibrook is the leader of this position group and one who can help put a copious amount of points up on the scoreboard.

Behind the southpaw signal caller, I’ll be watching the progression of the three young back-ups. Coan overtook the No. 2 quarterback spot as a true freshman after fall camp last year, leapfrogging Lyles.

Coan displayed a solid arm and intriguing mobility in August, then went on to burn his redshirt and play in six games to gain some collegiate experience on the field. He finished the 2017 season completing all five of his pass attempts for 36 yards. He may be the one to watch the most out of this position group with how he continues to progress physically and mentally in his second season in Madison.

Lyles’s development will also be looked at in the next month-and-a-half. He showed a strong arm last year but also made some notable mistakes in the fall camp practices that were open to media.

Not to mention, there is the redshirt freshman Vanden Boom. Unlike Coan, the Kimberly, Wis., native is a bit of an unknown at this moment from the outside looking in. We will see how he progresses during his first full series of spring practices.