During the summer doldrums of sports news, many college football fans are starved for news and information regarding their favorite teams.
With that in mind, we at B5Q have decided to take a more detailed look at each walk-on contributor and scholarship player on the Wisconsin Badgers football roster for 2020 in a running feature, our 2020 returnee profiles.
Each weekday we will breakdown one player on the football roster to look back at their recruiting process, their career as a Badger to this juncture and lastly preview their potential contribution to the team in 2020 and beyond.
Up next is Jack Dunn.
Name: Jack Dunn
Position: wide receiver
2020 eligibility: redshirt senior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 Composite - No stars, No. 208 athlete, Madison
2016 Recruitment: A standout quarterback and athlete at Madison’s Edgewood High School, Dunn verbally committed to the Badgers as a preferred walk-on in January 2016. According to every major recruiting site, Dunn held no Division-I offers. Having played high school football down the road from Camp Randall, Dunn had long dreamed of playing for the Badgers. Realizing Dunn had both the talent and drive to play at Wisconsin, Paul Chryst and his staff extended a dream walk-on offer to the Madison native. Dunn was one of six preferred walk-ons in Wisconsin’s 2016 recruiting class.
Career statistics: 41 punt returns, 7.2 yards per return, six catches, 61 receiving yards, two total touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing)
2019 statistics: 24 punt returns, 8.3 yards per return, five catches, 41 receiving yards, two total touchdowns
Player overview: As a walk-on, Dunn began his career in Madison with relatively low expectations. Unsurprisingly, he redshirted his first year on campus in 2016 and then played eight games on special teams as a redshirt freshman. Dunn really found his niche on the team as a sophomore, as he played in all 13 games and developed into Wisconsin’s primary punt returner. Last season as a junior, Dunn was up and down as a returner, and nearly lost his starting job after muffing a punt against Northwestern.
Dunn is not a particularly explosive player, but the criticisms he sometimes gets as a returner are slightly off base when you dig into the numbers. In 2019, among players with at least 10+ punt returns, Dunn led the Big Ten in yards per return (8.3) and total punt return yards (200). While he is unlikely to return one back for a score, Dunn has proven to be a reliable and productive punt returner, and someone the coaching staff clearly trusts on special teams.
Best case scenario for 2020: In his final season at Wisconsin, Dunn once again serves as the Badgers’ main punt returner and has his best season yet. The Madison native leads the Big Ten in yards per return for the second straight season, scores the first punt return touchdown of his career, and most importantly, has no fumbles. In addition to his return duties, Dunn earns some playing time as a slot receiver. The redshirt senior posts career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns with 19, 214, and two respectively.
Likely role on team in 2020: Dunn will likely have a near identical role for the Badgers as he did in 2019. It’s clear the coaching staff values his experience as a returner and I’d expect to see him back deep more often than not. If the Badgers get hit with injuries at wide receiver, Dunn could see some snaps in the slot, but it’s likely his role will primarily be on special teams in 2020.