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Wisconsin football: redshirt watch part II

Which freshman have played some of their four allotted games already?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 05 Kent State at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Since the non-conference portion of the schedule is over now, we should talk about redshirts again. The NCAA announced a new, and good, rule last year that stated a player could play in up to four games and still retain his eligibility to redshirt for that season. The NCAA doesn’t do much right so it is important to praise them when they do. GOOD WORK, IDIOTS!

Anyways, this is a very useful tool for coaches to get a look at their younger players in real game situations instead of the sanitized practice situations they’re used to. It is also nice for the players to know that their first year on campus will not just be learning the playbook and lifting weights. There is an actual opportunity for playing time!

Throughout the season we will check in on how many games each member of the freshman class of 2019 has played and speculate wildly on whether or not they’ll play more than four games or not. Here, after the season’s first five games, is our updated list.

Scholarship players, ordered by 247Sports ranking

  • Logan Brown, OT: zero games played
  • Graham Mertz, QB: two games played, 9-for-10, 73 yards, two rushes, six yards
  • Joe Tippmann, OT: one game played, no stats
  • Spencer Lytle, OLB: zero games played
  • Rodas Johnson, DT: zero games played
  • Hayden Rucci, TE: zero games played
  • Titus Toler, S: zero games played
  • Maema Njongmeta, OLB: zero games played
  • Julius Davis, RB: zero games played
  • Leo Chenal, ILB: four games played, 12 total tackles, one TFL, one sack, one fumble recovery
  • Semar Melvin, CB: one game played, one tackle
  • Gio Paez, DT: zero games played
  • Dean Engram, CB: zero games played
  • Clay Cundiff, TE: one game played, no stats
  • Stephan Bracey, WR: zero games played
  • James Williams, CB: zero games played
  • Keeanu Benton, DT: five games played, will not redshirt, four total tackles, two tackles for loss, one QB hurry
  • Quan Easterling, FB: zero games played


  • Jordan DiBenedetto, WR: zero games played
  • Cooper Nelson, WR: zero games played
  • Blake Wilcox, K: zero games played
  • Jackson Kollath, ILB: zero games played
  • Tatum Grass, ILB: zero games played
  • Logan O’Brien, OL: zero games played
  • Peter Bowden, LS: zero games played

With Bryson Williams being sidelined with an injury for most of the season, Keeanu Benton has really stepped up and filled the gap at nose tackle. He’s played in all five games and will not be using his redshirt this season.

Leo Chenal has been another revelation on defense, making plays all over the field with the second unit. He ain’t perfect though.

Quarterback Graham Mertz got an extended look against Kent State on Saturday since the Badgers had wrapped that game up before halftime. Mertz was a perfect 5-for-5 passing for 38 yards, got sacked once and scampered for a 10-yard rush too. He lead the Badgers on a scoring drive as well. All in all a pretty solid day from the freshman, but there are definitely more things for him to work on.

Keep in mind, Mertz has already said that he’s planning on using his redshirt this season.