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Analyst: C.J. Williams is Badgers best WR in 2023

Could C.J. Williams turn heads as early as the 2023 season?

The Wisconsin Badgers are sporting one of their strongest wide receiver rooms in the school’s recent history, having acquired Will Pauling, Bryson Green, C.J. Williams, and Quincy Burroughs from the transfer portal this past offseason to match with incumbent starters Chimere Dike, Skyler Bell, and Keontez Lewis.

The significant change has come with a new offensive system, as offensive coordinator Phil Longo was hired to install his system, which in return attracted a slew of quarterback transfers in Tanner Mordecai, Braedyn Locke, and Nick Evers.

Mordecai is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the Badgers, but the receiver battle continues to occur, as Green has worked his way into earning reps with the first-team offense after missing time due to shoulder surgery in the spring.

As a result, the Badgers have four potential starting receivers in Pauling, Dike, Green, and Williams, with Bell and Lewis likely to play a role in the offense as well.

With that said, who will ultimately be the team’s top receiver in 2023?

Former NFL head coach and current FOX analyst Dave Wannstedt listed out his top five receivers in the conference ahead of the 2023 collegiate season, and one Badgers’ receiver made the cut: C.J. Williams.

Ranking fourth amongst Big Ten receivers, Williams trailed Penn State’s Dante Cephas, as well as Ohio State’s duo of Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr.

Given that he has just four catches for 34 yards on his resume, Williams is by far the least-proven option on Wannstedt’s list, and it’s not close.

Here are each of Harrison, Egbuka, Cephas, and Isaiah Williams’s statlines in 2022:

Marvin Harrison Jr.: 77 catches, 1,263 yards, 14 touchdowns

Emeka Egbuka: 74 catches, 1,151 yards, 10 touchdowns

Dante Cephas: 48 catches, 744 yards, 3 touchdowns

Isaiah Williams: 82 catches, 715 yards, 5 touchdowns.

Wannstedt’s ranking is high praise for Williams, whose potential at Wisconsin is certainly high, given his four-star recruiting rating, but more importantly, the flashes he’s showcased thus far during his short time in Madison.

At Wisconsin, Williams will have to compete with Dike, Pauling, and Green for playing time and targets, which could make it tough to put elite numbers on the board in 2023.

Now, Williams could absolutely be a top-five wideout in the conference throughout his career in Madison, as the floor opens up for him down the line to receive a lion’s share of targets, but it may be tough to see enough reps and targets for that to occur in 2023.

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