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Post spring practice thoughts: wide receivers

A look at some of the news and notes from spring practice with the wide receivers.

Danny Davis at spring practice.
Kelli Steffes; UW Athletics Communications

The Wisconsin Badgers football team ended their spring practice period on Friday. After missing out on spring practice last year, having an extra 15 sessions proved to be extremely useful for Paul Chryst’s group. The Badgers didn’t have a spring game, or anything like that, but we were still able to glean a decent amount of information from the open practices and media availability.

Here is an overview of what took place this spring with the wide receivers.

To kick things off, let’s look at what the depth chart might look like heading in to the fall.

Projected Depth Chart (WR)

Wide receivers
Wide receivers
Starter -- Danny Davis
Backup -- Chimere Dike
Starter -- Kendric Pryor
Backup -- Jack Dunn or AJ Abbott

Spring standouts

While it was nice to see Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor back this spring (and most healthy), the development behind them was noteworthy. Junior wideout AJ Abbott, sophomore Chimere Dike and freshman Devin Chandler all made some noise this spring.

Abbott’s size, at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, has always made him an intriguing option, but it sounds as if the Michigan native is starting to put it all together to become a more consistent pass catcher. He supposedly “flashed” at times this spring according to coach Alvis Whitted, and his emergence would be highly beneficial to the depth of the room.

Chimere Dike lining up at spring practice.
Kelli Steffes; UW Athletics Communications

The star of fall camp last year, Chimere Dike once again turned heads this spring after playing immediately as a true freshman. Dike may be the most gifted receiver on the team, and fans should be excited about what he can do with the ball in his hands. Whitted was very complimentary of him, saying “I love everything about that kid and what he has done.” He is a player to watch come this fall.

The other wide receiver that saw his stock rise this spring was Devin Chandler. While he will probably still be outside the top-five options on the depth chart, he is a dynamic athlete that should continue to improve and will give the Badgers some added depth. He will likely continue to handle kickoffs, and he could see time out wide in set formations.

Devin Chandler at spring practice.
Kelli Steffes; UW Athletics Communications

Questions we still have

In listening to media availability sessions and practice reports, I have begun to wonder what Jack Dunn’s role will be?

A sixth-year walk-on, Dunn played admirably last year with injuries on the roster hampering the offense. He led all wide receivers in receptions and yards a year ago, but how he fits into the equation in 2021 is a major question mark in my eyes.

Davis and Pryor are the definitive top options at wideout, and the continued emergence of Dike would appear to potentially make him third in the pecking order. There are still plenty of snaps to go around considering Dunn’s ability in the slot and as a blocker, but Abbott and Chandler have also earned playing time as well.

Paul Chryst mentioned early in the spring that Davis, Pryor, Dunn and Dike were the top-four, but one would have to imagine that Dunn’s workload won’t be the same as a year ago.

I still think Dunn will play meaningful reps come fall, but Abbott and Chandler have made inroads and will likely be called upon for larger roles in 2022 when Dunn/Pryor/Davis are gone.

Overall, the depth at wide receiver is fairly strong heading into 2021.