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 in our player profile series, Graham Mertz.
Name: Graham Mertz
2020 eligibility: redshirt freshman
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 4-star, No. 3 pro style quarterback, Mission, Kansas
2017 Recruitment: Graham Mertz’s recruitment started in 2017 when he received an offer from the in-state Kansas Jayhawks. Shortly after, Mertz took visits to Oklahoma State, Minnesota and Wisconsin before committing to the Badgers just a few days later. In following month’s things really picked up for Mertz as he received scholarship offers from the likes of Georgia, Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and Clemson. Despite the multitude of high profile offers, Mertz stuck with the Badgers and came in as one of the highest recruited quarterbacks in Badgers history.
Career statistics: 9-of-10, 73 yards
2019 statistics: 9-of-10, 73 yards
Player overview: Coming into the 2019 season there was nobody who was talked about more than Graham Mertz. His talent is there and his high school accolades are as impressive as any. Despite all that, we saw a very small sample size for Mertz last fall. Mertz was worked into two games in 2019 and looked efficient, going 9-for-10 for 73 yards. Yes, that is not a lot to go on, but the progression from high school star to collegiate quarterback seemed to be well underway. Early in the season, Mertz mentioned his redshirt season was providing benefits as he learned more of the offense. With the learning curve behind him and arm talent continuing to improve, Mertz will look to to prove that he progressed in hopes to see even more of the field with the training wheels off, and redshirt season under his belt.
Best case scenario for 2020: Best case scenario for Mertz is that he comes into practice, whenever that starts, and wins the starting quarterback job. Will that happen? I’m not sure, but in his shoes that would certainly be the best case scenario. A lack of spring football hurt Mertz’s chances to show off his development, but he will likely get more opportunity in 2020. With no redshirt worries this fall Mertz will have every chance to make his way onto the field, but he’ll have to beat out incumbent starting QB Jack Coan to do so.
Likely role on team in 2020: Oh man, how do I answer this question without making half of our readers upset. Let’s see. Ok so, Coan is probably going to be the starter whenever the season opens against Indiana. The coaching staff seems happy with what Coan did last season and are expecting a similar jump up in progression like we saw from 2018 to 2019. Does that mean Graham Mertz won’t see the field next season? Of course not.
There are a host of ways this thing could go but until we see some reps on the field it’s hard to say. Mertz is a talented and hungry kid, so there’s no doubt he will push for the number one quarterback spot when the team returns to campus. Out of the gate it looks like he will be the number two, but things can change as the season progresses. Whatever the role, I would expect to see more than 10 passes from Graham Mertz in 2020.