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 rolling player profile series, Spencer Lytle.
Name: Spencer Lytle
Position: outside linebacker
2020 eligibility: redshirt freshman
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 composite 3-star, No. 20 outside linebacker, Bellflower, Calif.
2019 recruitment: A highly regarded three-star prospect out of powerhouse St. John Bosco High School in California, Spencer Lytle held well over 40 FBS offers from across the country. The No. 20 outside linebacker in the country was originally expected to follow his older brother to Colorado, but later released a top two of Clemson and Wisconsin.
After taking multiple visits to his top schools, including an official visit to Madison in early June with a host of Wisconsin commits such as Hayden Rucci, Graham Mertz, and Logan Brown, Lytle chose to commit to the Badgers in early August.
Career statistics: redshirted in 2019, no games played
2019 statistics: redshirted in 2019, no games played
Player overview: One of the biggest recruiting gets for the Badgers in the 2019 class, Spencer Lytle enrolled early with the Badgers last season. After a strong spring camp, he did not participate in fall camp or play in any games due to injury.
In speaking with outside linebackers coach Bobby April back at football media day leading up to fall camp, he brought up that Lytle had gained around 19 pounds, mostly muscle, over the past six months heading up to fall camp, and that he was impressed with how instinctual he plays, especially in space, and how quickly he has picked up the playbook.
Although he is young, Lytle is one of the most talented outside linebackers in the room, and he is one of the better playmakers in space given his ability to drop into coverage.
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@spencerlytle7 working the outside shoulder of the blocker to set the edge, then finishing for the QB sack as a high school senior. With a clean bill of health after a redshirt season, can those skills push him into playing time in 2020? #UWinningPlays #2020returnees @badgerfootball
Best case scenario for 2020: After a redshirt season to continue to working on his health and adding weight, Lytle was listed at 228 pounds on the spring roster available to the media.
Assuming he is healthy entering fall camp, Lytle is one of a handful of players at outside linebacker that will be competing for reps in 2020. If everything goes according to plan, Lytle is a player that could easily find himself somewhere in the two-deep on the depth chart given his skills as a pass rusher and in coverage. It would not be out of the question for him to be deployed in a specific package to use his ability in space.
A redshirt freshman season that gets him on the field in special teams and as a rotational outside linebacker could set him up nicely for a larger role in seasons following.
Likely role on team in 2020: The outside linebacker position is the position on the defense with the most questions heading into fall camp. After Noah Burks, the group does not have a ton of extended playing experience. Jaylan Franklin and Izayah Green-May are the most likely candidates for the role opposite Burks, but Wisconsin has rotated players at the position quite a bit in years past.
I expect Lytle to be in the mix as an option for Bobby April. He could surprise and vault up the depth chart now that he is healthy, but I think the conservative guess is that he will help the team out in special teams and potentially in a reserve capacity or rotational player behind Burks.
Regardless, he is definitely a player to watch entering fall camp.