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Wisconsin football: freshmen/transfer number breakdown

A look at some of the numbers that the newest Badgers will be wearing and what we can glean from them.

Kelli Steffes, UW Athletics

Every fall at the start of fall camp the University of Wisconsin football team shares their season roster with updated heights, weights and numbers for fans and media members alike to analyze in anticipation of the season.

The proliferation of social media in recent years has made finding new jersey numbers much easier though. Here is a rundown of the jersey numbers that some of the freshmen and incoming transfers will be wearing in 2021 for the Badgers.

Starting with the transfers, Chez Mellusi appears to be wearing No. 6 this season, a significant change from his former number at Clemson which was No. 27.

Isaac Townsend, the other incoming transfer for the Badgers, will wear No. 93 this fall. He previously wore No. 85 with Oregon as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end, but is apparently focused on playing defensive end with Wisconsin.

A six-pack of freshmen opted to enroll early this spring to get a jumpstart on their college careers and it appears as though they will each wear the same number this fall.

  • TJ Bollers will continue to wear No. 3 as an outside linebacker after using the number in the spring.
  • Al Ashford will rock No. 27 at cornerback.
  • Jake Chaney will wear No. 36 at his inside linebacker spot.
  • Jack Pugh will wear No. 47 while playing tight end.
  • Riley Mahlman is set to takeover No. 71 which was worn by Green Bay Packers OL Cole Van Lanen last season.
  • Mike Jarvis will wear No. 97 newly opened up after Isaiahh Loudermilk moved on to the NFL.

For the freshman who joined the team this summer there was a bit more intrigue over numbers. Some of the numbers are reflective of their high school numbers, but many having embraced single digit or newfound numbers as well.

  • Braelon Allen is poised to be one of the first players in program history to wear No. 0 at running back and has been one of the most talked about recruits in some time given his performance in the weight room.
  • Cornerback Ricardo Hallman will wear No. 2, which is reminiscent of Jamar Fletcher and Scott Starks...pretty good company.
  • Wide receiver Markus Allen will also stick to the single digits and wear No. 4 as he hopes to crack into the receiving rotation.
  • Quarterback Deacon Hill will carry over his high school number and wear No. 10 for the Badgers as he aims to fight for the No. 3 role in the quarterback room as a true freshman.
  • Skyler “Juice” Bell will be wearing No. 11 at wide receiver.
  • Darry Peterson will be wearing No. 17 (his former high school number) as an outside linebacker similar to Andrew Van Ginkel a few years ago.
  • Loyal Crawford is set to wear No. 22 as he begins his career at running back.
  • Safety Hunter Wohler is a potential early impact player, and he will be wearing No. 24 with the Badgers. He wore the same number in high school.
  • Interestingly Jake Ratzlaff, who is a defensive athlete that could project to either linebacker spot or safety, will wear No. 25 which was opened up after Eric Burrell left for the NFL. Maybe safety is where he will start off?
  • Running back Antwan Roberts will do his best Montee Ball impression wearing No. 28 with Wisconsin.
  • Jackson Acker will start out wearing No. 34 with the Badgers. With so many running backs coming in this class maybe he begins at fullback? Derek Watt and Mason Stokke both repped the number while playing fullback...
  • Ayo Adebogun is expected to begin his career at outside linebacker and will wear No. 46.
  • Bryan Sanborn, the younger brother of standout linebacker Jack Sanborn, will be wearing No. 51 for Wisconsin as an inside linebacker himself.
  • Nolan Rucci lucked into keeping his high school number jersey No. 66 and enters the program as one of the most heralded recruits in program history.
  • JP Benzschawel will take over Jon Dietzen’s number and will start out as No. 67 for the Badgers.

There is also a small group of walk-ons that are set to play for the Badgers this season as well. Here is a breakdown of their names/numbers.

  • Kicker Nate Van Zelst appears to be wearing No. 29 this season.
  • Alex Moeller, a two-way athlete out of Illinois will be wearing No. 30. I think the assumption can be made that he will be starting out as a defensive back.
  • Grover Bortolotti is poised to wear No. 36. Interestingly Jake Chaney also wears that number which likely means that Bortolotti will begin his career on offense.
  • Walk-on defensive end/linebacker Garrison Solliday will be wearing No. 45 in 2021.
  • Owen Arnett, a walk-on linebacker recruit for the Badgers, will be wearing No. 48. That worked out fairly well for Jack Cichy when he walked on at Wisconsin.