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5 quick takeaways from the Badgers depth chart vs. Buffalo

The Badgers released their first depth chart of the season on Monday.

Week 1 of college football is finally upon us, as the Wisconsin Badgers released their first depth chart to the media ahead of head coach Luke Fickell’s weekly presser on Monday.

Here are some quick takeaways from the Badgers’ first depth chart of the season.


The Badgers have seen some true depth concerns at tight end this offseason, as veterans Clay Cundiff and Jack Eschenbach were both left off the roster, while injuries have minimized the number of available players ahead of Week 1.

Match that with the emergence of true freshman Tucker Ashcraft, and the Badgers have their top backup tight end to blocking specialist Hayden Rucci.

Ashcraft arguably has the clearest path to playing time of any freshman in 2023, and it helps that he was handpicked by the current staff in the 2023 recruiting class.

Expect the tight end to be a meaningful contributor in 2023, especially if his blocking ability can hold up in the Big Ten.

WR depth chart

The Badgers aren’t playing around.

The team named Bryson Green as a starting receiver alongside Chimere Dike on the outside, with Will Pauling occupying the starting slot role.

Dike is better suited as a slot receiver, given his lack of high-end traits, but you can’t keep Pauling, arguably the best wideout on the team, on the bench.

C.J. Williams slots in as a backup outside receiver, but should very well see the field early, rotating in with Green and Dike.

The Badgers have a strong group of six receivers, with Skyler Bell and Keontez Lewis rounding out the group, and don’t sleep on Vinny Anthony and his blazing speed in certain situations.

But, it’s good to see the Badgers not playing around, naming Green and Pauling as starters, with Williams high on the depth chart.


Joe Huber has officially earned a starting spot, with center Jake Renfro out a few weeks, and Tanor Bortolini taking over in the middle.

Huber was one of my players to watch this offseason, as his talent and versatility stood out, and he now takes over at left guard.

The bigger question? Do the Badgers sideline Renfro for the entire season after two significant leg injuries, or try and integrate him into the lineup midseason?

That move could lead to some continuity issues, although Renfro’s talent is undeniable, and he likely is the best center on the team. Not to mention, Bortolini could move to his most comfortable spot: guard.

But, those are questions for a later date.

Defensive end

The Badgers have named James Thompson Jr. a starter, meaning he and Rodas Johnson are the team’s top options at defensive end.

As a result, transfer Darian Varner has been listed as a second-string defensive end, although this may be more of a logistical move, as Varner could slide into the top unit on passing downs.

The Badgers are weakest along the front, as injuries have plagued the nose tackle position, leading Gio Paez and Ben Barten to be the top options at nose tackle on the two-deep.

I would expect Varner’s snap count to increase, as the Badgers need to create a formidable pass rush after losing Nick Herbig and Keeanu Benton this offseason.

Duclona makes the two-deep

Jonas Duclona is one of four true freshmen to make the two-deep, joining Ashcraft, starting punter Atticus Bertrams, and backup long snapper Keane Bessert.

Duclona has impressed throughout spring ball and fall camp, joining the second line of defense with transfer cornerback Nyzier Fourqueran.

Fourqueran should crack the rotation at cornerback with starters Alexander Smith and Ricardo Hallman, but Duclona could see reserve action as well.

Duclona is primed more for an off-boundary or nickel role in this defense instead of the press-side corner, given his size, but his progress is welcoming for a team that lost significant depth at cornerback this offseason.