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What Badgers OC Phil Longo likes about new QB Tyler Van Dyke

The Badgers offensive coordinator discussed the addition at quarterback for the first time.

NCAA Football: Miami at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers looked to the transfer portal once again to fill their void at starting quarterback, landing Miami Hurricanes graduate transfer Tyler Van Dyke, who will have one year of eligibility remaining.

A redshirt junior in 2023, Van Dyke split time with Miami quarterback Emory Williams, finishing the year with 2,703 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, while completing 65.8 percent of his passes.

Van Dyke was one of several intriguing quarterbacks to enter the transfer portal this season, but the Badgers honed in on the Miami transfer, bringing him in for a visit, which was met with a commitment shortly after.

Speaking to reporters for the first time in weeks, offensive coordinator Phil Longo detailed why the Badgers ultimately went for Van Dyke, pointing out the experience that head coach Luke Fickell coveted in Tanner Mordecai last offseason.

“Obviously, we are very pleased with what Tyler has to offer,” Longo said, via 247’s Evan Flood. “We wouldn’t have brought him in, but he’s got a lot of experience. He’s a mentally tough kid. He’s very bright, obviously.”

As a thrower of the football, Longo pointed out the arm talent that Van Dyke possesses, in addition to his frame, as key reasons for the addition. But, more importantly, Van Dyke has been a winner.

“He’s tall and rangy and he can throw it all over the yard. He can make all the throws and I watched him live,” Longo said. “Coach Fickell, I have learned working with him every day, is huge on winners, right? And we all are.”

“And he’s a guy that has proven he can do that in the past and he’s a guy that I’ve actually watched live and that carried some weight with me with regards to liking him because I’ve seen him do it against our defense two years in a row. I’ve seen him do it against the entire league that I coached in for four years and I know what he was competing against and I know how high a level he was playing and so I’m obviously thrilled to have him here in our quarterback.”

One of the bigger issues with Van Dyke has been his injury history, which may have scared some teams off.

While it is something to monitor, Longo has been impressed with how Van Dyke has responded to adversity over his career, speaking to his mental toughness.

“If you look at anybody’s history, they probably have an injury history, they probably have an adversity history. They probably have a bad game here and there,” Longo said. “For me, what I really am most intrigued about with Tyler is how he’s bounced back and handled all those situations. So everybody has all that in their background. Many don’t handle it as well.”

“He did and he does, and it’s just part of the mental part of it. I think that is an asset that we’re getting with him and time will tell. Obviously, he’s got to come in, he’s got to do it and go compete with the rest of the guys and we’ll see what happens.”

Now, with Van Dyke projected to be the starter for the Badgers, that means redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Braedyn Locke and Nick Evers will likely be on the sidelines for a second consecutive season.

Will that be an issue for the Badgers’ morale in the quarterback room? Longo doesn’t believe so.

“I’ve been pleased with the reaction,” Longo said when referencing the room’s response to landing Van Dyke. “I mean, they all slapped hands and said hello, and they talked. We had [2024 QB commit] Mabrey [Mettauer] up here and we had Tyler up here, and they had football questions, and the guys in the room answered them.”

“I think they just accept them as a part of our room. They know that’s what’s coming. I think if you’re made the right way and you play quarterback, you worry about your own development, and you go compete on the field and you let your performance dictate what that’s.”

“They don’t have a choice. That’s the only thing they can do.”