The Wisconsin Badgers landed a commitment from Australian punter Atticus Bertrams on Friday, marking their second special-teamer via the transfer portal after kicker Nathanial Vakos transferred from Ohio in the winter.
Bertrams, a former USC commit in the 2022 class, has spent time with Prokick Australia, run by former NFL specialists Nathan Chapman and John Smith, after electing not to enroll at USC last year.
Why did Bertrams choose Wisconsin?
The opportunity of Big Ten football and Luke Fickell behind the helm of the program made the choice easy for Bertrams, who comes in as a punter.
“I feel like when the opportunity to play Big 10 football comes past, you have to grab it with both hands. Wisconsin is a special place to play football with such a rich history of winning and with energy behind the program, with coach Fickell, [the decision was] a no-brainer. It’s also a place where I can walk away after four years with an incredible degree which is massively important for myself and my family,” Bertrams shared to Bucky’s 5th Quarter.
Diving into the Australian pool of specialists isn't anything new for head coach Luke Fickell, who previously had success with James Smith and Mason Fletcher at Cincinnati.
Fickell’s history of prioritizing and developing special teamers played a role in Bertrams’s commitment, who was in the same recruiting class as Fletcher.
“I think everybody on the staff realizes how important special teams is and a huge emphasis is put on it in meetings and practice,” Bertrams said. “Coach Fickell has had great success with Jimmy Smith and Mason Fletcher in the past and I know he will put me in the best position to succeed so that I can do my job for the team.”
As for where he fits into the roster, Bertrams becomes the logical replacement for consistent punter Andy Vujnovich, who departed for the NFL this season.
During the offseason, the Badgers held a competition between Gavin Meyers and Jack Van Dyke, which was met with mixed results, albeit in a limited capacity.
Regardless, Bertrams’s attitude is just looking to compete with the incumbent punters in the fall for a chance to win the starting job.
“All I know is that there’s 2 punters there and they can both hit a big ball, so I’m just coming in the summer and the fall to compete like everybody else and try to win a starting spot,” Bertrams said.