B5Q’s weekly deep dive on the injury front is back!
After a season in which the Wisconsin football team dealt with an extreme flurry of injuries, the team enters the 2019-2020 season in a much healthier spot.
During fall camp, Wisconsin experienced a swath of injuries at the tight end position paving the way for redshirt freshman walk-on Jack Eschenbach to rise up the depth chart into the two deep. While Gabe Lloyd is still out for the season, it appears that Luke Benzschawel’s leg injury may still allow for him to return in some capacity this year. When it happened in fall camp it did not look great, but there is reason for hope with him not listed out for the year.
#Badgers OC Joe Rudolph says frosh TEs Rucci and Cundiff are still out and won’t play in opener.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) August 27, 2019
Behind them a pair of true freshman, Clay Cundiff and Hayden Rucci each got reps in camp before being sideline with their own injuries. Now entering the final week of preparation they both will also be held out according to Jeff Potrykus, leaving the position pretty thin.
Jake Ferguson, the returning starter at tight end is also banged-up, even though his availability for Friday's game is not in question. He tore a ligament in his thumb, but is prepared to play with a cast on his hand. I do not anticipate it to be something that hinders his performance, but he will be gutting it out for a couple weeks as he recovers.
Sophomore TE Jake Ferguson was back at practice today with a yellow no contact jersey on. He was still sporting a splint and wrap on his injured thumb. That didn’t stop him from snagging a pretty one handed catch at the back of the end zone. pic.twitter.com/Fc8P4ItSZd— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 16, 2019
Garrett Rand has been able to go through all of fall camp a year after missing the entire season due to an achilles injury. His presence will be huge Friday for the defensive line. Along the line with him will be a healthy Isaiahh Loudermilk. The junior missed a good chunk of fall camp because of an elbow injury, but he told the media on Sunday that he is back to feeling 100%, and that he will be “braced up” and ready for South Florida on Friday. Having those two defensive ends healthy and prepared should go a long way in helping the defense get more pressure, and stuff the run.
In the defensive secondary, Faion Hicks is finally healthy after also sitting out some time in fall camp. Hicks started most of the games last season at cornerback, and had a great off-season according to Paul Chryst. He had been batting tendinitis, but as of Sunday he is back to 100% healthy. Hicks said that sitting out time in camp was primarily precautionary, but that he feels as though he and Deron Harrell should be a great cornerback duo.
Faion Hicks is one of many players from Florida to play in a homecoming of sorts. Said he has been working to get extra tickets from teammates for his family members. Definitely excited to play against some friends and former teammates as well.— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 25, 2019
The last player who is now back to playing for Friday is A.J. Taylor. The senior receiver missed a good portion of practices in the fall for precautionary purposes as he dealt with a leg injury. While he was sidelined it has opened the door for more reps for other players, as he returns from a season in which he lead the team in receiving yards.
While the Badgers do have a few players who are coming back from injury, and who are out, the bulk of the roster is healthy. A breath of fresh air from a season ago.
Story was updated Tuesday afternoon to include Rucci and Cundiff news.