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Wisconsin releases 2019 spring football roster

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Departing players, position changes, jersey number updates galore!

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NCAA Football: Northwestern at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers released their 2019 spring roster on Wednesday just a day after the program’s spring practices kicked up inside the McClain Center.

Among the departures from the program, a UW official confirmed to B5Q and other media outlets that wide receiver Quintez Cephus, defensive end Kraig Howe, outside linebackers Mason Platter and Paul Jackson, and inside linebacker Ethan Cesarz were no longer with the team.

UW indefinitely suspended Cephus in late August 2018 according to its Student-Athlete Discipline Policy, and the wide out is awaiting a late July trial on sexual assault charges. As seen below, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus reported on Wednesday an update about the Georgia native.

The Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway reported Platter, who missed his true freshman season in 2018 due to injury, left the program for medical reasons.

Howe, who would have been a rising redshirt senior, did not play last season and only is credited with one game played in his UW career (Utah State in the 2017 season opener).

Full list of departures

Excluding the outgoing seniors who exhausted their eligibility after the 2018 season, here is a list of those players no longer with Wisconsin heading into 2019 spring practices.

A UW official also confirmed to B5Q on Wednesday that walk-on fullback Jake Collinsworth left the team last season and has been serving as a student assistant for Wisconsin’s strength and conditioning staff. Collinsworth was not on the roster listed in the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl game notes.

Position switches

  • Redshirt freshman Nate Carter switches to tight end from quarterback
  • Redshirt junior Seth Currens moves to inside linebacker from safety
  • Redshirt junior Griffin Grady bumps to outside linebacker from inside linebacker
  • Redshirt freshman Isaac Guerendo switches to running back from wide receiver
  • Redshirt sophomore Hunter Johnson moves to inside linebacker from running back
  • Redshirt freshman Cormac Sampson moves to offensive line from tight end
  • Redshirt freshman Brady Schipper switches to running back from wide receiver
  • Redshirt freshman Marty Strey bumps to inside linebacker from outside linebacker
  • Redshirt sophomore Aaron Vopal flips to offensive line from defensive end
  • Redshirt sophomore Coy Wanner moves back to tight end from fullback

Additions

The four incoming mid-year enrollees:

  • Freshman QB Graham Mertz: 6’3, 216 pounds
  • Freshman OLB Spencer Lytle: 6’2, 204 pounds
  • Freshman WR Cam Phillips: 6’0, 177 pounds
  • Freshman ILB Leo Chenal: 6’2, 239 pounds

Stoughton’s Jordan DiBenedetto also is on the spring roster and is listed as a wide receiver at 6’0, 185 pounds.

New numbers

  • CB Faion Hicks (No. 1, from No. 20)
  • QB Graham Mertz (No. 5)
  • OLB Spencer Lytle (No. 7)
  • WR Cam Phillips (No. 18)
  • ILB Leo Chenal (No. 45)
  • TE Nate Carter (No. 47, from No. 19)
  • OLB Christian Bell (No. 49, from No. 55)
  • PK Collin Larsh (No. 19, from No. 98)
  • OL Cormac Sampson (No. 67, from No. 47)

Media will be available to watch eight of the 15 practices starting next Tuesday, Apr. 2, and B5Q will be there for those eight barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Check out our recent spring preview discussion about the specialists, outside linebackers and specialists with the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway on a recent edition of Bucky’s 5th Podcast. Be sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and pretty much everywhere where you listen to your favorite podcasts!

Weight changes

According to a UW official, Wisconsin updates its roster’s weights twice a year on its website: once after winter conditioning each year just before spring football, and once after summer conditioning wraps up just before the beginning of fall camp.

That being said, here are some notable changes in weights from last year’s listed weight (again taken before fall camp) to now:

  • Redshirt junior tight end Luke Benzschawel bumped up to 269 from 247 (+22)
  • Sophomore fullback John Chenal up to 252 from 235 (+17)
  • Redshirt freshman defensive end Boyd Dietzen up to 262 from 252 (+10)
  • Redshirt freshman tight end Jack Eschenbach up to 227 from 213 (+14)
  • Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Michael Furtney up to 313 to 291 (+22)
  • Redshirt freshman running back Isaac Guerendo up to 208 from 194 (+14)
  • Redshirt senior inside linebacker Chris Orr down to 214 from 232 (-18)
  • Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Cormac Sampson up to 269 from 255 (+14)
  • Redshirt freshman running back Brady Schipper up to 209 from 195 (+14)
  • Redshirt junior offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen down to 300 from 311 (-11)
  • Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Aaron Vopal up to 310 from 300 (+10)

Update: Eschenbach gained 14 pounds, while Dietzen gained 10 pounds. Apologies on the confusion in the initial publishing.