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, Jake Ferguson.
Name: Jake Ferguson
Position: tight end
2020 eligibility: redshirt junior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 3-star, No. 13 tight end, Madison
2017 recruitment: A promising multi-sport athlete at Madison Memorial High School, the Badgers always seemed to make the most sense for Ferguson. His grandfather is Barry Alvarez, and his family would be able to see him play all of his games.
Ferguson still did his due diligence though, visiting his other offers from Iowa, Iowa State, and Nebraska. In the end, Wisconsin secured his commitment in late March of his junior season before showing out in the camp circuit to rise up to a four-star recruit on 247 Sports.
Career statistics: 69 receptions, 863 yards receiving, six touchdowns.
2019 statistics: 33 receptions, 407 yards receiving, two touchdowns.
Player overview: A heralded recruit, Jake Ferguson became an impact player immediately as a redshirt freshman. The 6-foot-5 tight end has been a consistent threat in the offense, and has demonstrated the ability to be an impact player both as a receiving target, and more recently as a blocker.
Ferguson has dramatically improved as a blocker, and has become a more well rounded tight end since coming to campus as an athletic high school wide receiver and basketball player.
Last season Ferguson had to play through a thumb injury early in the season, and was really one of the only “healthy” tight ends on the roster for large chunks of the season. While statically his numbers dropped very slightly, he made tremendous improvements in other areas of his game.
Best case scenario for 2020: After consecutive seasons with over 400 yards receiving as a secondary pass catching option, Jake Ferguson becomes one of Jack Coan’s go-to threats in the passing game.
His 6-foot-5 frame provides a nice security blanket for Coan, increasing his catch volume from 33 to 36 his first two seasons on the field closer towards the 45 to 55 range and over 600 yards receiving as a junior.
After a stellar season, Ferguson has decisions to make in terms of the NFL Draft.
Likely role on team in 2020: Quintez Cephus and A.J. Taylor accounted for 82 catches, 1168 yards, and nine touchdowns. Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor are destined to take on larger roles, but Ferguson could really benefit from greater opportunities.
While I don’t expect him to surpass some of the statistical outputs that Travis Beckum had during his sophomore and junior seasons, I think Ferguson could easily surpass the numbers Troy Fumagalli put up his junior and senior seasons at Wisconsin.
Ferguson has steadily improved as a blocker, and should continue to shoulder a very important role in the offense under Chryst.