clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Spring Football 2021: safeties preview

There are a pair of familiar faces atop the depth chart but a lot of unknowns behind them.

Northwestern v Wisconsin Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

If it seems like there have been more sports than ever this March it is because, well, there have been! What’s one more to add to the pile? The Wisconsin Badgers football team starts their spring practice on Tuesday, March 30 and we are going to start previewing each position group. UW will have 15 practices after having zero last year due to COVID-19.

Instead of the traditional position previews we’ve done in the past, these ones are going to be a little more focused on just a couple of players. We will feature one or two players who we think a full spring practice will really help and focus on one position battle that we think will be important.

Next up, the safeties!

Players who will benefit from a full spring practice schedule

  • Almost every player behind the two presumed starters (FS Scott Nelson and SS Collin Wilder) could use a full spring practice, but we’ll try and focus on just a couple of them. Backup free safety John Torchio is a guy who is oozing with potential but just needs more seasoning. He redshirted in 2018 and played in 13 games between the 2019 and 2020 season, making seven tackles, one tackle for loss, one pick and three passes defended. In the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, he recorded three tackles so he’ll be heading into spring ball with some personal momentum. Torchio is also just an intriguing prospect because he is from California but chose to walk-on at UW. His older sister played soccer at Wisconsin, so it wasn’t a completely out of the blue choice, but most walk-ons come from in-state.
NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Travian Blaylock is a guy who came to Wisconsin as a cornerback but has been shifted over to safety. He played in four games as a freshman in 2018 to preserve his redshirt, recovering a fumble, but then only appeared in one game in 2019. 2020 was his first season as a safety and he didn’t see a lot of playing time outside of special teams. Having a full offseason of practice at his new position will be a huge benefit for a guy looking to crack the two-deep.

Key position battle

  • While I definitely think that Wilder will enter spring camp as the starting strong safety, I think that redshirt freshman Titus Toler is going to give him a run for his money. Toler has limited experience, appearing in only two games during the 2020 season, but he recorded an interception against Illinois and has oodles of potential.

Once 4-star true freshman Hunter Wohler gets on campus for fall practice, he should probably be in the mix for snaps at safety, but this is the SPRING football preview so forget I even said anything.