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 every position group heading into 2023.
Last week, we evaluated the running back room, and today comes the wide receivers room, which has several new faces heading into 2023.
Starters: Chimere Dike(Sr.), Bryson Green(Jr.), Skyler Bell(R-So.), C.J. Williams(R-Fr.)
Backup: Will Pauling(R-So.), Keontez Lewis(Jr.), Chris Brooks Jr(R-Fr.)., Vinny Anthony(R-Fr.)
Competition: Quincy Burroughs(R-Fr.), Markus Allen(R-So.), Trech Kekuhana(Fr.)
The wide receiver room is one of the toughest positions to evaluate, and potentially the deepest group of talent that the Badgers have in 2023, which hasn’t been the norm during the previous regimes.
Wisconsin added several new faces via the transfer portal, landing C.J. Williams from the USC Trojans, Bryson Green from the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and Quincy Burroughs and Will Pauling from the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Currently, Dike should reprise his role from a season ago, being the most-experienced wideout on the team apart from Green, serving as a viable slot receiver for likely starter Tanner Mordecai in offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s air-raid offense.
Green, on the other hand, should be a prominent figure in the offense, despite his recent arrival, as he had a strong season during his first year as a starter in 2022, catching 36 passes for 584 yards and five touchdowns at Oklahoma State.
At 6’1, 205 pounds, Green provides a level of physicality at the receiver position, while possessing the ability to win at the catch-point.
C.J. Williams is the most-intriguing recruit of the bunch, as the former USC receiver is raw, but talented. The wideout didn’t earn playing time as a freshman, but possesses the necessary traits to succeed at the next level, and they should be put on display in Longo’s offense.
Williams will have to compete against talented and more-experienced players, such as now-redshirt sophomore Skyler Bell, who emerged as a premier talent in 2022 on the outside, as well as junior Keontez Lewis, who served as the Badgers’ No. 3 wideout a season ago.
Bell should also retain a role in the Badgers offense, as he possesses good route-running capabilities, which may be better featured in the slot on certain occasions.
Of the backups, Brooks Jr. and Anthony were two young wideouts that flashed at times last season, with the former showing out during bowl game practices, while the latter saw some playing time during the regular season.
Additionally, Will Pauling and Quincy Burroughs, two Cincinnati wideouts, should get their chance to compete, having already built a relationship with head coach Luke Fickell, while possessing different tools.
While serving as a smaller body, Pauling has top speed, which is a requisite to spreading out defenses in Longo’s air-raid system, while Burroughs has a good frame, standing at 6’2, 202 pounds.
Lewis, a receiver known for his physicality and blocking ability, served as Wisconsin’s deep threat a season ago when running routes. He has two seasons of collegiate experience, which should aid him in competition in 2023.
Allen, a transfer candidate from the program in 2022 before re-committing to the Badgers, was a former four-star recruit who was projected as a big-bodied receiver that could catch tough passes, but struggled with a drop issue in limited playing time in 2022.
With a fresh start alongside a new coaching staff, he will be another name to watch in spring practices, as well as freshman Trech Kekuhana, who came to Wisconsin after initially de-committing and choosing Arizona.
In the way-too-early depth chart, Green and Dike project as the top wideouts on the team, with Bell and Williams rounding out the starting receiver group.