Following the transition from Jim Leonhard to Luke Fickell, it was clear the Wisconsin Badgers needed help in certain position groups, one of them being the wide receiver position.
Although the Badgers didn’t have a pass-heavy offense, there was a noticeable lack of depth within the position group and it was necessary for Fickell and offensive coordinator Phil Longo to work on making additions through the transfer portal.
Not only did they make additions, but they drew in tons of talent at receiver including Cincinnati transfers Will Pauling and Quincy Burroughs, Oklahoma State’s Bryson Green, and most notably, USC’s C.J. Williams.
Williams, a former 4-star wide receiver from Southern California, played his first season at USC. Williams had just 4 catches for 34 yards in his first season but wasn’t given much playing time given the talent and depth of the wide receiver room at USC.
This led to his decision to enter the transfer portal.
He was quickly given multiple offers from top programs nationwide and was one of the most heavily recruited players in the portal.
Yet, Wisconsin stood out as one of his favorite options above all.
“I think the city of Madison is very similar to the place I grew up, the Orange County area, minus the weather obviously”, said Williams speaking on his decision to come to Wisconsin. “But at the end of the day, it’s more of the fit as far as the players I’m around, the coaches, the football program, and then the culture.”
During his first visit to Madison, Williams was able to build relationships with fellow transfers Pauling and Burroughs, along with kicker Nathanial Vakos.
“I think just knowing the guys I was going to be around, and as far as the transfers and the guys that took me around had a big part of it” said Williams speaking on his connection with the other transfers.
But one of the most important moments from his visit was his conversations with Phil Longo.
“Just from my conversations with [Phil] Longo, I kind of knew he was my kind of guy as well. Building a relationship was really key with him”
It comes as no coincidence that players have had only positive things to say when speaking about Longo. In the brief moments he has been available to the media, his calm personality along with his clearly impressive knowledge of his offensive system has been impressive.
It is no surprise that Williams was content with the offensive coordinator he’d be playing for. And the same thing goes with head coach Luke Fickell.
“I’m taking a leap of faith by committing to you right now, but you’re also taking a leap of faith if you’re committing to me because at the end of the day, we don’t know anything about each other”, Williams said when speaking about Fickell. “I think that leap of faith is what gave me the confidence to commit here.”
Ultimately, both Fickell and Williams were able to take the leap of faith.
When speaking about his decision to commit to Wisconsin, Williams only had positive things to say.
“I’m extremely happy about it”, said Williams. “I think I found the right spot for me and I think that’s what the recruiting process is about. I think this is the right spot for me because I think the biggest thing for me is I wanted to find somewhere where they believed in me as much as I believed in myself.”
In what should be a completely revamped offense, don’t be surprised when the wide receivers impress all throughout spring ball and the regular season.