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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Wisconsin
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  11/24/20 - Graham MertzrFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  After dealing with little to no on-the-field adversity while leading the University of Wisconsin football team to victories in his first two career starts, the redshirt freshman quarterback's inexperience showed Saturday afternoon against a terrific defense. Mertz turned the ball over four times - three interceptions and a fumble - in the No. 10 Badgers' 17-7 loss to No. 19 Northwestern at Ryan Field. It didn't help matters that Mertz didn't have his two best wide receivers on the field with him, and there was plenty of blame to go around on a UW offense that couldn't get out of its own way. But on a day when the Badgers needed their young star to be great, he instead took a step back. "I do believe what drives him is doing all he can for this team, and when you're not able to do that or do it enough, it's a growing situation," UW coach Paul Chryst said. "This one was painful for a lot of us, and we've got to learn from it. We've got to take away what you can from it and go forward.

"I don't know if there's many quarterbacks that play that don't go through those highs and those lows. You've got to find a way to continue to work through and be consistent when things are going well and when things aren't going well." Mertz completed 74.4 percent of his passes during his first two starts - sandwiched around a positive COVID-19 test that sidelined him for two weeks - but he went just 23 of 41 for 230 yards against the Wildcats (5-0). He attempted 64 passes without throwing an interception dating to his debut last season, but his first career pick came in the second quarter and that was followed by two more. "Northwestern's a great, veteran defense," Mertz said. "They knew what was coming with our progressions, so obviously there were some that I'd like to get back. But now it's just taking it as a learning experience and grow from it." - Journal Sentinel


(DS#4 QB) rFr/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  11/14/20 - Nakia WatsonrSo/2023, Wisconsin, 5-11, 229 (DS#6 RB) + More +

  No. 13 Wisconsin was ready, not rusty, in its first game in three weeks. Michigan, meanwhile, looked lost and lifeless in a third straight loss. Nakia Watson and Mason Stokke each scored two touchdowns in the first half, helping the Badgers build a big lead in a 49-11 rout of the Wolverines on Saturday night. Wisconsin (2-0) returned to competition after canceling two games of its all-Big Ten schedule due to a COVID-19 breakout within the program and rolled past a hapless team. "I'm really proud of the way that everyone kind of worked through what we've gone through," coach Paul Chryst said.

The Wolverines (1-3) fell behind 28-0 at halftime, their largest deficit at home since the Big House opened in 1927, and finished with their most lopsided loss at home since a 1935 loss to Ohio State. "We were thoroughly beaten in every phase," coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged after the latest loss dropped Michigan to its worst start since 1967. "We didn't do anything well. We did not play good. We did not coach good." Early on, it appeared Michigan might put up a fight before getting knocked out in front of friends and family in its mostly empty stadium. - AP College Football


(DS#6 RB) rSo/2023 RB Nakia WatsonWisconsin
News Source: AP College Football
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  10/29/20 - Graham MertzrFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  A COVID-19 outbreak has put the University of Wisconsin football season on hold after just one game. The Badgers will pause football activities for at least seven days after a dozen people in the program, including coach Paul Chryst and starting quarterback Graham Mertz, tested positive for COVID-19 in the past five days. The Badgers, ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, decided they cannot play their scheduled game Saturday at Nebraska. A Big Ten Conference spokesman said the game will not count toward either team's record. The 12 people who tested positive include six players and six staff members. The program is in the process of providing hotel rooms for seven days in order to separate players who live together to combat the virus' spread. UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said the program does not know what caused the outbreak. Additional test results are pending, meaning there are potentially more cases within the program. - Wisconsin State Journal

(DS#4 QB) rFr/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: Wisconsin State Journal
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  10/28/20 - Chase WolfrSo/2023, Wisconsin, 6-0, 196 (DS#999 QB) + More +

  A second University of Wisconsin quarterback has tested positive for COVID-19. State Journal sources confirmed Tuesday that starter Graham Mertz and backup Chase Wolf have tested positive using a rapid antigen test. CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported Tuesday morning that Mertz's confirmatory PCR test came back positive. The status of Wolf's PCR test is not known. Big Ten Conference protocols state players who have a positive test confirmed must sit out of games for 21 days. That 21-day layoff for players who test positive is the longest among Power Five conferences. Mertz is believed to have tested positive on Saturday, Oct. 24, and the initial test begins the 21-day countdown. Assuming he has no cardiac complications and he's cleared by a cardiologist, he will miss games against Nebraska and Purdue, but could be active against Michigan on Nov. 14. - Wisconsin State Journal

(DS#999 QB) rSo/2023 QB Chase WolfWisconsin
News Source: Wisconsin State Journal
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  10/27/20 - Graham MertzrFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  No. 9 Wisconsin has canceled its game at Nebraska on Saturday and paused all team activities for at least seven days after a dozen people within the program including coach Paul Chryst tested positive for COVID-19. School officials said athletic director Barry Alvarez and chancellor Rebecca Blank made the decision in consultation with Big Ten officials. The game with Nebraska won't be rescheduled. Wisconsin said six players and six staff members had tested positive over the last five days. The announcement followed reports that starting quarterback Graham Mertz had tested positive twice – which would require him to sit out at least 21 days under Big Ten protocols - and that backup quarterback Chase Wolf had tested positive at least once. - AP College Football

(DS#4 QB) rFr/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: AP College Football
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  10/26/20 - Graham MertzrFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  OCT 26 BIG TEN CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER AND FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Graham Mertz, Wisconsin, Fr., QB, Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley North,...Became the first Wisconsin freshman to start a season opener at quarterback since 1978, going 20-for-21 for 248 yards and five touchdowns...Broke the school record for single-game completion percentage (.952), while tying the school marks with five touchdown passes and 17 consecutive completions...Recorded the third-highest single-game passing yards by a Wisconsin freshman, trailing Darrell Bevell (274 vs. Northwestern in 1992) and Joel Stave (254 vs. Illinois in 2012)...Earns his first career Big Ten weekly awards...Last Wisconsin Offensive Player of the Week: Jonathan Taylor (Nov. 18, 2019)...Last Wisconsin Freshman of the Week: Jonathan Taylor (Nov. 27, 2017). - Big Ten Football

(DS#4 QB) rFr/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: Big Ten Football
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  10/25/20 - Graham MertzrFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  Wisconsin says nobody who played in the season opener Friday night tested positive for COVID-19 or reported having any symptoms beforehand, amid weekend reports that quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal reported Mertz would be taking a second test to determine whether his first test was a false positive. The Journal-Sentinel reported Mertz's positive test came Saturday, one day after the Badgers' 45-7 home victory over Illinois. School officials say they won't release any testing information regarding individual athletes due to privacy concerns. Big Ten protocols say that athletes who test positive through point-of-contact daily testing must take a polymerase chain reaction test to confirm the first result. If that second test confirms a positive result, the athlete can't play again for at least 21 days. The ninth-ranked Badgers visit Nebraska, host Purdue and travel to No. 13 Michigan in their next three games. - AP College Football

(DS#4 QB) rFr/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: AP College Football
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  10/23/20 - Graham MertzrFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  Graham Mertz threw five touchdown passes to match the Wisconsin record in a commanding first career start and the No. 14 Badgers beat Illinois 45-7 on Friday night to open the pandemic-delayed Big Ten football season. Mertz set a school record for completion percentage on 20-of-21 passing, finishing with 248 yards. The lone incompletion was a pass that running back Garrett Groshek dropped midway through the third quarter. The redshirt freshman quarterback delivered a buzzworthy performance during the Big Ten’s long-awaited opening night. The Big Ten announced Aug. 11 that it would postpone all fall sports until the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, then reversed itself Sept. 16 by saying it would begin the season in mid-October.

While most other conferences began playing last month in front of partially filled stadiums, Wisconsin had cutouts in the stands and piped-in crowd noise Friday as it began its nine-game schedule. But his prime-time outburst still earned raves on social media from a wide range of players including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and former Wisconsin star J.J. Watt. Mertz became the first-team quarterback after returning starter Jack Coan underwent foot surgery on Oct. 7, leaving him out indefinitely. He wasted no time making the most of his opportunity. The only previous Wisconsin quarterbacks to throw five touchdown passes in a game are Darrell Bevell against Nevada in 1993 and Jim Sorgi against Michigan State in 2003. Mertz was 14 of 14 for 190 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone as Wisconsin built a 28-7 halftime lead. Three of his five touchdown passes went to tight end Jake Ferguson, who had seven catches for 72 yards. - AP College/Wisconsin Football


(DS#4 QB) rFr/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: AP College/Wisconsin Football
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  10/23/20 - Leo ChenalSo/2023, Wisconsin, 6-1, 250 (DS#22 ILB) + More +

  Looking the part has never been an issue for Leo Chenal. At 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, the sophomore inside linebacker for the University of Wisconsin football team is physically ready to assume a bigger role in the No. 14 Badgers defense. Ask his teammates and coaches, and the physical tools Chenal possesses are quick to come up. This summer while the Badgers were away from campus due to COVID-19, Chenal made waves with videos he posted on social media of him bench pressing. One video showed Chenal, who's set to make his first career start Friday when UW hosts Illinois, benching 225 pounds 40 times, and another showed him completing 18 reps at 315 pounds. For reference, at the 2020 NFL scouting combine, the highest number of bench reps of 225 pounds was 44 by offensive lineman Netane Muti; no linebacker completed more than 30 reps. "That man is crazy," senior safety Eric Burrell said of Chenal. 'He's one of the strongest guys we have on this team. He gives 110 percent every play, every play. You can look at him like, 'Golly, this dude's still going.' He's taking over (Chris Orr's) job, I think he's doing a hell of a job. I'm excited for what he has to bring this year, his first start. I think we're all excited for his opportunity and I think he'll be ready for it." - Wisconsin State Journal

(DS#22 ILB) So/2023 ILB Leo ChenalWisconsin
News Source: Wisconsin State Journal
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  10/23/20 - Jake FergusonrJr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-4, 246 (DS#5 TE) + More +

  The Badgers have one of the conference's top tight ends returning in Jake Ferguson, but not much is known about the players behind him. Injuries ravaged the tight end room last season, to the point UW coaches moved Cormac Sampson from the offense line back to tight end. Ferguson played the second-most snaps on the team offensively, but his production as a receiver slipped at times. Playing less and being more rested may help him make more of an impact in the passing game, which means another tight end must take on more responsibility. Hayden Rucci, Gabe Lloyd and freshman Cam Large are all candidates for reps behind Ferguson, and with how often the Badgers employ two-tight-end sets, the No. 2 tight end role is an important one. - Wisconsin State Journal

(DS#5 TE) rJr/2022 TE Jake FergusonWisconsin
News Source: Wisconsin State Journal
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  10/23/20 - Nick HerbigFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 225 (DS#17 OLB) + More +

  According to his teammates, Herbig has quickly made up the lost ground. "I think the biggest thing with Nick is he's got such a high motor," Burks said. "He never stops, doesn't want to stay blocked. He is a pretty relentless finisher." Senior defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk has noticed No. 19 making plays. "He has been absolutely tearing it up," Loudermilk said. "He is a special talent." Based on practice video UW officials have shared on Twitter, Herbig has been able to defeat the blocks of tackles and/or tight ends. "He's talented, but what sticks out is he loves playing the game of football," head coach Paul Chryst said. "Wants to be coached. Wants to become the best he can be. And then he goes 100 miles an hour and puts it out there. "It's like any of us. It's not perfect but he puts himself out there." - Journal Sentinel

(DS#17 OLB) Fr/2024 OLB Nick HerbigWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  10/23/20 - Nick HerbigFr/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 225 (DS#17 OLB) + More +

  When the Wisconsin coaches evaluated Nick Herbig during a lengthy recruiting process, they saw an outside linebacker who consistently displayed strength, toughness, speed and tenacity. They could envision Herbig setting the edge of the defense on running plays and making life uncomfortable for quarterbacks because of his ability to get into the backfield. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound freshman from Hawaii has not disappointed in his first camp and, based on comments from anyone willing to talk, should play a significant role this season. "Nick is a really mature football player that understands the game," Bobby April, entering his third season as UW's outside linebackers coach, said last week via Zoom. "He plays fast. He is physical. "All the stuff that you saw from his high school highlights and tapes have come to fruition for us. I love where he is trending. "He is a guy that's got everything we're looking for. He is smart, tough and dependable. He checks all three boxes and he is a great kid off the field. "I can see why people are talking about him because the guy is a play-maker." - Journal Sentinel

(DS#17 OLB) Fr/2024 OLB Nick HerbigWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  10/21/20 - Mason StokkerSr/2021, Wisconsin, 6-1, 239 (DS#6 FB) + More +

  Mason Stokke developed last season into Wisconsin's No. 1 fullback, capable of opening holes for the tailbacks, gaining tough yards on the handful of carries he received or catching passes. As the UW coaches prepare for the possibility a COVID-19 outbreak could decimate the depth of any position group, Stokke has gotten some work at tailback during camp. "He performed the way we expected," senior tailback Garrett Groshek said Sunday during a Zoom session. "And he has done really well at it." Stokke a 6-foot-2, 239-pound fifth-year senior from Menomonie, was the No. 2 fullback behind Alec Ingold in 2018. He rushed four times for 13 yards but did not catch a pass.

He teamed with John Chenal at fullback last season and rushed 15 times for 51 yards and two touchdowns and caught six passes for 47 yards. UW's top three tailbacks entering the opener Friday against visiting Illinois are redshirt sophomore Nakia Watson, who rushed 74 times for 331 yards last season; Groshek, who rushed 42 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns and caught 29 passes for 289 yards last season; and redshirt sophomore Isaac Guerendo, who had one carry for 1 yard last season. Stokke excelled at linebacker and tailback in high school and last season showed soft hands and the ability to run with power. - Journal Sentinel


(DS#6 FB) rSr/2021 FB Mason StokkeWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  10/09/20 - Jack CoanSr/2021, Wisconsin, 6-2, 221 (DS#18 QB) + More +

  Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said Monday it is too early to tell how much time quarterback Jack Coan might miss after the senior injured his foot in practice Saturday. "He's going to see a specialist," Chryst said. "We'll know more in the coming days on that one there. We'll find out what all that means." The 16th-ranked Badgers open the season Oct. 24 by hosting Illinois. Chryst said the injury occurred when Coan was dropping back and that it didn't involve any contact. Redshirt freshman Graham Mertz has been receiving the first-team reps that Coan didn't take. Coan has made 18 career starts and started all 14 games for Wisconsin last year as the Badgers went 10-4 with losses in the Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl. He had a school-record 236 completions for 2,727 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions last season. He completed 69.6% of his passes and also had four touchdown runs. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#18 QB) Sr/2021 QB Jack CoanWisconsin
News Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
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  10/04/20 - Jack CoanSr/2021, Wisconsin, 6-2, 221 (DS#18 QB) + More +

  Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan is dealing with a foot injury as the Badgers prepare for the start of their coronavirus pandemic-delayed season. Athletic department spokesman Brian Mason confirmed that Coan injured his foot in practice Saturday and didn't practice Sunday. Mason didn't have any update on the severity of Coan's injury beyond that. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported Coan's injury and said the senior from Sayville, New York, is out indefinitely. The 16th-ranked Badgers open their season Oct. 24 by hosting Illinois. Coan has made 18 career starts and started all 14 games for Wisconsin last year as the Badgers went 10-4 with losses in the Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl. He threw a school-record 236 completions for 2,727 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions last season. He completed 69.6% of his passes and also had four touchdown runs. - AP College Football

(DS#18 QB) Sr/2021 QB Jack CoanWisconsin
News Source: AP College Football
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