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Wisconsin football: two more Badgers named to preseason watch lists

Jake Ferguson and Kayden Lyles are two important cogs on the UW offense.

Wisconsin v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

As preseason awards season keeps on trucking along, two more Wisconsin Badgers received honors. Standout tight end Jake Ferguson was named to the Mackey Award watch list, given annually to the nation’s top tight end, and leader of the offensive line Kayden Lyles was added to the Rimington Award watch list, given to the best center in the country.

Ferguson has been receiving a lot of All-America hype this offseason as well, and is routinely picked as the top TE in the Big Ten. Last season Ferguson was the top receiving option for the Badgers, hauling in 30 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns in a shortened season.

In his career, Ferguson has 99 catches for 1,168 yards and 10 touchdowns in 34 games played. He should be the top threat for QB Graham Mertz again this season and, with the return of every single Wisconsin wideout, he won’t be able to be the primary focus of opposing defenses. A big year could be on the horizon.

Lyles, who will anchor the Wisconsin offensive line, could be the next in a long line of Badgers centers to go on to NFL success. The UW o-line is a bit reworked from last season but should be better as many players now have starting experience after the group suffered some injuries (including multiple to Lyles himself) last year. Wisconsin legend Tyler Biadasz won this award in 2019 before being selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Draft.