The Wisconsin Badgers return its top three receivers this season, but that didn't stop new head coach Luke Fickell from landing four receivers through the transfer portal.
“Iron sharpens iron.”
That could be what Fickell is going after, and he could even have a vision that the new receivers become the top receivers on the team.
The top receivers returning on the roster are Chimere Dike, Skyler Bell, and Keontez Lewis.
In 2022, Dike had 689 yards and 6 touchdowns, with Bell earning 444 yards and 5 touchdowns as the secondary, while Lewis emerged with 313 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Looking at the top three receivers returning, that isn’t great statistically. However, there is talent coming back.
So, why did Fickell bring in an influx of talent via the transfer portal?
The Badgers hired North Carolina offense coordinator Phil Longo for the same position, and his offensive scheme, the air raid attack, will require plenty of receivers.
So, let’s take a look at each of the four receivers that Fickell landed via the portal.
Green is a junior transfer from the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The 6’1 wideout hauled 36 receptions for 584 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns last year. He is the most experienced of the group coming in.
Green is a player that plays physically with the ball in his hands. He’s showcased the ability to go up the ladder and win 50/50 balls. Additionally, Green’s route running is solid, as he generates the requisite space needed to win reps.
With his skillset, he has everything needed to be a breakout player for the Badgers' offense, which is why Green was a great signing by Fickell and his staff.
Big time get! Williams was a four-star transfer from the USC Trojans and earned the No. 11 ranking for receivers in the 2022 recruiting class.
The problem? Williams just didn't get any playing time at USC. The 6’2 receiver is ready for the opportunity.
From what I have seen from the All-American game and his high school film, Williams can play receiver at a high level.
Short area quickness is his best attribute. His route running is very advanced for a young receiver. He can line up at any position, be it the outside or in the slot, and run routes. While his speed isn’t that of a burner, it’s good enough to set up corners.
I wouldn't be shocked to see Williams and Green be the 1-2 punch at receiver going forward for Wisconsin.
Burroughs followed Coach Fickell to Wisconsin from the Cincinnati Bearcats, becoming one of a few transfers from the university.
Following the head coach that recruited him provides Burroughs an advantage since he understands the standard that his coach wants from him.
The 6’2 sophomore wideout has speed. While he doesn't necessarily have regular speed, he has track speed, and the air raid offense that Phil Longo is bringing is going to love that speed.
The Badgers may have gotten their receiver can take it over the top and force defenses to not stack the box against star running back Braelon Allen.
Pauling was the second receiver that followed Fickell to Wisconsin from Cincinnati.
While Pauling is a smaller receiver at 5’10 180 pounds, he provides speed at the wideout position, similar to Burroughs, and has the opportunity to gain weight.
Last season, the redshirt sophomore caught 12 passes for 122 yards. Coach Longo could use another speedy receiver in the offense.
Not only can Pauling blow the top off, but he's also able to be utilized as a gadget player on runs. With the speed he has, Pauling could be lined up in the backfield and used as a receiving back, or to run end-arounds, which Skyler Bell frequented this season.
Pauling is a player that I think can have a certain role, but not as big of a role as the other three receiver commits.
Overall, the receivers that Coach Fickell brought in are good and they will be used in the air-raid attack by Longo in some capacity.
The offense will be much more dynamic with the passing game, allowing Allen to showcase his abilities as a running back. Finally, Badger fans will get to see fewer eight man boxes, which could result in more points on the board.
These additions were a great way for Fickell to make the receiver room better, as he went out and got really good talent.