The Wisconsin Badgers have significantly improved their roster with an overload of talent at several key positions, which has come following a coaching change to former Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell.
With the amount of competition at several positions, and with the first transfer portal period officially over, let’s evaluate a position a day, beginning with the quarterback room.
In this exercise, I’ll be delving through the position group, projecting a starter, backup, and the competition on the depth chart.
Starter: Tanner Mordecai
Backup: Nick Evers
Competition: Chase Wolf, Myles Burkett, Braedyn Locke, Cole LaCrue, Marshall Howe
Tanner Mordecai comes into spring ball as the likeliest choice to win over the starting quarterback role.
He’s the most experienced of the group, having thrown for 7,152 yards, and 72 touchdowns, while completing over 66% of his passes during his last two seasons at SMU.
When acquiring Mordecai via the transfer portal, it seemed as if he could be the “bridge” signal-caller, leading the team in his final year of eligibility, while paving the way for the younger options to earn more playing time.
As for the backup, the competition gets interesting as Wisconsin has a flurry of talented signal-callers that ultimately lack experience.
To me, Nick Evers should be the favorite right now. Evers has the highest ceiling of the group, but also a skillset that should be favored in Phil Longo’s air-raid system, while his mobility is something to work with to further the offense.
With a new offensive system for the second consecutive season, it’s tough to give an advantage to the incumbents on the roster, as every quarterback will have to adjust.
But, of the competition, there are a variety of intriguing options.
Chase Wolf provides the most experience in terms of college seasoning, and could be above Burkett in terms of readiness, given the choice of play during last year’s bowl game.
However, Burkett may be a better fit for the system with his accuracy and, more importantly, ability to move in the pocket.
Then comes four-star Mississippi State Bulldogs transfer Braedyn Locke, whose skillset also is an intriguing match, which should provide for some competition.
Locke, Evers, and Burkett are all redshirt freshmen, potentially indicating that Wisconsin not only has their quarterbacks right now, but also for the future, be it their starters or backups.
Freshman Cole LaCrue will likely take a redshirt year, especially with the competition, but also provides the dual-threat ability with his mobility for the position.
Overall, there are several similarities between some of the quarterbacks, which makes sense why the new coaching staff was attracted to them.
The number of bodies should provide ample competition, even pushing projected starter Tanner Mordecai, but, at the moment, I believe that Mordecai is the No. 1 option with Evers as the No. 2.
Once again, this breakdown is a way-too-early evaluation, with change and closure likely to reveal themselves as spring practices begin.