Redshirt sophomore cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams announced on Wednesday night that he received a full release and will no longer play for the Wisconsin Badgers. He made his announcement via social media.
Carriere-Williams came into 2018 as the team’s most experienced cornerback after the departures of Nick Nelson and Derrick Tindal. Playing in 14 games (five starts) as the third corner in UW’s nickel subpackage last season, he recorded 30 tackles, seven pass break-ups, and an interception.
Carriere-Williams’s decision is surprising considering many thought he would assume first-team duties after Wisconsin lost its two starters at the position from a year ago and the defense as a whole lost seven.
On Sunday, Wisconsin released its Week 1 depth chart with Carriere-Williams as one of the second-team cornerbacks behind redshirt freshman Faion Hicks and redshirt sophomore Caesar Williams as starters.
That was not necessarily surprising, however, considering Carriere-Williams practiced primarily with the second team and reserves during the latter portion of fall camp that was open to the media.
When asked about Carriere-Williams on Aug. 16, defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard mentioned consistency as a factor.
“The highs are high, and they’ve been high, and it’s just consistency and effort in practice and just continuing to push that,” Leonhard said. “I like some of the things he’s done, but I just want to see more, and that’s the entire group really.”
The Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway also noted this from a later conversation during that availability:
More Leonhard on DCW: "He knows what it’s like on Saturdays, and that doesn’t give him a pass to compete on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and in training camp. I like the fact that when he competes, he looks like we want him to compete. We just want it more often."— Jason Galloway (@Jason_Galloway) August 16, 2018
The announcement comes just two days away from Wisconsin’s season opener against Western Kentucky (Friday, 8 p.m. CT, ESPN).
Along with Hicks and Williams, UW currently has sophomore Madison Cone— the other second-team corner listed on the depth chart—along with redshirt freshman Deron Harrell and true freshman Donte Burton. Despite the talent at the position group, many are unproven in game experience, and Carriere-Williams leaving the program is a significant departure.