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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Wisconsin
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  06/03/21 - Chez MellusiJr/2023, Wisconsin, 5-11, 200 (DS#999 RB) + More +

  The University of Wisconsin running backs room got a lift when former Clemson running back Chez Mellusi tweeted that he was transferring to the Badgers program. He'll have immediate eligibility in 2021 and have three years of eligibility remaining. The four-star prospect from Naples, Florida, played for two years at Clemson before jumping into the transfer portal. He was in Madison for an official visit Tuesday. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, Mellusi's arrival comes at a time when the Badgers don't have a clear depth chart at running back, particularly after a spring season when Jalen Berger, Isaac Guerendo and Julius Davis were significantly limited by injuries, giving junior Brady Schipper (four carries in 2020) the bulk of the spring work. Of the players who saw the most carries last year, Garrett Groshek (67 carries) has graduated and moved on, Nakia Watson (53 carries) has transferred to Washington State, and fullback Mason Stokke (19 carries) signed as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers. Assuming full health, Berger (60 carries as a freshman) would be the heavy favorite to open as UW's starter, but Mellusi could quickly become a top-two option. - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

(DS#999 RB) Jr/2023 RB Chez MellusiWisconsin
News Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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  05/03/21 - Logan BrussrSr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-5, 310 (DS#12 OG) + More +

  UW associate head coach and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph shuffled around things this spring after losing two starters on the offensive line. One move that was suggested as permanent was senior Logan Bruss moving from right guard, where he played in 2020, to right tackle, where he started almost the entire 2019 season. "Bruss is probably our most consistent performer and yet still has a kind of let-it-loose, difference-maker type of ability," Rudolph said. "Putting him in a spot where he can do just that was an emphasis for this season." Bruss was steady as usual throughout spring and provides an anchor on the right side of the line for UW. - Journal Sentinel

(DS#12 OG) rSr/2022 OG Logan BrussWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  04/21/21 - Alexander SmithJr/2023, Wisconsin, 5-11, 182 (DS#999 CB) + More +

  Rachad Wildgoose's decision to turn pro after last season, a season in which he played in only two games, stripped Wisconsin of one its better cornerbacks. Barring injury, seniors Faion Hicks and Caesar Williams will enter the 2021 season as UW's best and most experienced cornerbacks. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and new cornerbacks coach Hank Poteat are using spring ball to evaluate the depth at the position and find the next options behind Hicks and Williams. Two players who have taken advantage of the opportunities are Alexander Smith and Dean Engram, with each player getting work on the outside and at the nickel cornerback position. "I'd say in general we feel like they all certainly have a good talent base to them and I think as a group each one individually is coming from a good place," head coach Paul Chryst said recently when asked about the cornerbacks. "They want to be good players and they want to work at it. "But I think that Dean Engram and Alex have been doing a great job of kind of taking the coaching and trusting that and you can now start to see that progression. "That's not to say the other guys aren't taking the coaching. But I think that you're starting to see some consistency in them." - Journal Sentinel

(DS#999 CB) Jr/2023 CB Alexander SmithWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  04/20/21 - John ChenalSr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-1, 252 (DS#7 FB) + More +

  UW's top two fullbacks this spring are John Chenal, who has started three games and played in 29 in three seasons; and Quan Easterling, who played in one game in 2019 and did not play last season. Chenal had a 43-yard run at Michigan last season and has carried 25 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He has three catches for 15 yards, all in 2019. "John has played a lot of football and certainly has the opportunity this year for his role to be different than it's been in the past," Chryst said. Chenal and Easterling are getting all the work they can handle this spring because injuries have left Brady Schipper as the lone healthy tailback. On one play Saturday, Easterling was at fullback with Chenal at tailback. "You saw it today," Chryst said. "Those guys are getting more reps at the tailback spot." - Journal Sentinel

(DS#7 FB) Sr/2022 FB John ChenalWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  04/19/21 - Jack EschenbachrJr/2023, Wisconsin, 6-5, 224 (DS#999 TE) + More +

  Jake Ferguson understands as well as anyone on the Wisconsin roster the path Jack Eschenbach is attempting to navigate. Ferguson was bigger wide receiver at Madison Memorial High School who lined up wide, caught passes and rarely, if ever, was asked to block. Making the transition to tight end after he arrived at UW in 2017 took time and diligence despite the fact he carried 230 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame. Eschenbach played wide receiver at Benet Academy in Illinois and was moved to tight end after he joined UW as a walk-on in 2018.

Eschenbach, 6-6 and 198 as a freshman, is still working to become an impact tight end. "Where he has come from (since) then is mind-blowing," Ferguson said Friday. "It is tough not blocking anybody in high school and switching over to college ball and having to block 300-pound D-ends. It is definitely a big change. "But you can tell he has worked on it over the years. He's gotten to the point where he can block those 300-pound D-ends. He can execute a pin block so the lineman can pull around him. He is getting the job done and it is really cool to watch. "He is definitely going to make an impact this year." - Journal Sentinel


(DS#999 TE) rJr/2023 TE Jack EschenbachWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  04/12/21 - Logan BrussrSr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-5, 310 (DS#12 OG) + More +

  Logan Bruss has felt the dynamics of the University of Wisconsin offensive line's meeting room shift this offseason. The Appleton product has preferred throughout his career to allow his actions to set the tone for the group and keep his talking to a minimum. But Bruss views it as his obligation to be a sounding board for his line-mates as he enters his fifth year in the program and third as a regular starter. "Every time you get to your senior year, you kind of feel a responsibility that it's kind of your time to take over the reins," he said. "I think we have a real good thing going right now and I'm excited to see where it goes." Bruss has been one of the most consistent players on the Badgers' offensive line the past two seasons, associate head coach and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph said. He and Jon Dietzen were the only two Badgers offensive linemen to start all seven games last season. - Wisconsin State Journal

(DS#12 OG) rSr/2022 OG Logan BrussWisconsin
News Source: Wisconsin State Journal
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  04/10/21 - Graham MertzrSo/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  Once it was over, Graham Mertz took time to reflect after his first college football season as a starter. It hadn't gone how he wanted - after a record-setting starting debut in which he threw five touchdown passes, challenges started to pile up for the sophomore. He contracted COVID-19, testing positive the day after the Illinois game as part of an outbreak that derailed the University of Wisconsin's season for nearly three weeks. He struggled as his timing and accuracy were sporadic over the final six games of the year and UW finished 4-3. Mertz said as he evaluated the season, he looked inward first, asking himself how he needed to get better in each aspect of his game. He also took stock of how he needed to improve his approach off the field. "I took a couple of days just to kind of take that approach. 'How can I be the best Graham during the season?'" Mertz said Friday. When Mertz did begin studying tape, he broke his play down into particular elements and spent days watching each snap with an eye on that component. From his drop-backs to his understanding of scheme and recognition of defenses, Mertz took note of the strides he needed to make. He didn't specify when it happened, but Mertz also sustained a shoulder injury and had to get a cortisone shot one week. He rejected the idea that it was an explanation for his struggles. "I'm not one to sit here and make excuses for how I played, and having a little banged up shoulder doesn't justify losing three games (in a row) and playing like that," he said. "So I'm not going to sit here and make that an excuse, because it's not." - Wisconsin State Journal

(DS#4 QB) rSo/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: Wisconsin State Journal
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  04/08/21 - Matt HenningsenrSr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-2, 286 (DS#15 DE) + More +

  Defensive end Matt Henningsen feared the worst as stood on the sideline at Michigan Stadium and watched his Wisconsin teammates throttle the Wolverines on Nov. 14. His left bicep, torn out of place early in the game, was covered in a protective wrap. Henningsen's 2020 season likely was over after just two games. "We had a pretty good idea," Henningsen told reporters on Monday. "When you have any muscle tear you can kind of see just how it looks. It just doesn't look right." UW orthopedic surgeon Geoffrey Baer, who was with team in Ann Arbor, immediately realized the severity of the injury. "He looked at it and he knew," Henningsen said. "He didn't want to let me down at the time, so he said we'll get an MRI. "He told me the next day he knew that was going to be it for me for the rest of the year." Henningsen underwent surgery three days after the game, was fully recovered about 2 ½ months later and has been full-go all spring. "He is 100%," first-year defensive line coach Ross Kolodziej said. "He is a genius academically and he is a freak show athletically. He is right at or maybe exceeding where you'd hope he would be at this time." - Journal Sentinel

(DS#15 DE) rSr/2022 DE Matt HenningsenWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  03/30/21 - Graham MertzrSo/2024, Wisconsin, 6-2, 215 (DS#4 QB) + More +

  Redshirt freshman Graham Mertz struggled to find consistent rhythm after a record-setting performance in his starting debut. Mertz completed just under 57% of his passes, threw four touchdowns and five interceptions the rest of the season after completing 20 of 21 passes against Illinois, tying a program record with five touchdowns. Cutting down on turnovers - Mertz also lost two fumbles last season - is the first step, but doing so will be the result of establishing better timing in the pocket. A majority of Mertz's interceptions last seasons were due to holding the ball too long or trying to throw a pass too late and the window of opportunity closing. Coach Paul Chryst's track record of coaching quarterbacks at UW includes the heights of Russell Wilson's stellar season in 2011 and a through line of consistent, smart play. Spring practices are the time to meld that coaching with Mertz's talent so the quarterback can take a big step forward this fall. - Wisconsin State Journal

(DS#4 QB) rSo/2024 QB Graham MertzWisconsin
News Source: Wisconsin State Journal
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  03/13/21 - *Rachad WildgooseJr/2021, Wisconsin, 5-11, 197 (DS#46 CB) + More +

  Cornerback Rachad Wildgoose knew he would be ready to enter the 2021 National Football League draft after a brief conversation last fall with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. Wildgoose, among 10 former UW players who took part in the team's pro day on Wednesday, shared Leonhard's complimentary message. "He was like: 'Bro, if you can keep this up, the whole world is going to know what I know,'" Wildgoose told reporters. "When I got coach Leonhard's support, (I) was all in." Leonhard's message was that if Wildgoose played as well as he had practiced in camp, he would be ready for the NFL. "Coach Leonhard is a credible source," Wildgoose said. "He worked his way up the depth chart when he got here. He worked is way up the depth chart in the league. "He has a good eye for skill and talent and what you should look like. So, when he told me that, I was locked in." - Journal Sentinel

(DS#46 CB) Jr/2021 CB *Rachad WildgooseWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  02/03/21 - Danny Davis IIIrSr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-0, 194 (DS#120 WR) + More +

  In the days leading to Wisconsin's game against rival Minnesota, offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said he was optimistic injured senior wide receivers Kendric Pryor and Danny Davis would eventually choose to return to UW for the 2021 season. Pryor announced last month he would be back next season and Monday night Davis joined him by announcing he would return as well. The NCAA ruled before the season that players who participated in 2020 would not lose a year of eligibility. Davis played in only two games last season. He suffered an apparent concussion in UW's second game, a 49-11 victory at Michigan. Pryor played in only three games. - Journal Sentinel

(DS#120 WR) rSr/2022 WR Danny Davis IIIWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  01/19/21 - Caesar WilliamsrSr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-0, 188 (DS#92 CB) + More +

  Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard has added another important piece for his 2021 unit. Veteran cornerback Caesar Williams announced Sunday he is taking advantage of the NCAA rule allowing seniors another year of eligibility and is returning to UW for the '21 season. Williams redshirted in 2016 and has started a total of 19 games and played in 35 over the last four seasons. He started all seven games in 2020 and finished with two passes broken up and 13 tackles. - Journal Sentinel

(DS#92 CB) rSr/2022 CB Caesar WilliamsWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  01/17/21 - Garrett GroshekrSr/2021, Wisconsin, 5-11, 217 (DS#41 RB) + More +

  When Garrett Groshek discussed the factors Wisconsin's seniors had to consider before deciding whether to return for the 2021 season, he made it clear one more year of college football might not be the easy choice. Groshek, who got married in July and earned a degree in personal finance last month, has decided to give the NFL a shot rather than return to UW for a sixth year. He confirmed that decision Saturday morning on Twitter. The former walk-on from Amherst High School enjoyed his best overall season in 2020. He rushed 67 times for 300 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry, and caught 22 passes for 119 yards. - Journal Sentinel

(DS#41 RB) rSr/2021 RB Garrett GroshekWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  01/11/21 - Noah BurksrSr/2022, Wisconsin, 6-2, 240 (DS#82 OLB) + More +

  Another multiyear starter has decided to return to Wisconsin for the 2021 college football season. Senior outside linebacker Noah Burks, who has started a total of 20 games over the last two seasons, said Sunday he plans to be back next season. Burks started 13 games in 2019 and all seven games this season. He finished seventh on the team in tackles this season with 18, including one sack, recorded one interception and recovered one fumble. - Journal Sentinel

(DS#82 OLB) rSr/2022 OLB Noah BurksWisconsin
News Source: Journal Sentinel
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  01/09/21 - Garrett RandrSr/2021, Wisconsin, 6-2, 282 (DS#999 DE) + More +

  Senior defensive end Garrett Rand made it official Saturday: He is not returning to Wisconsin in 2021. The stunning part of Rand’s announcement, however, is that he is walking away from football because of health concerns. - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

(DS#999 DE) rSr/2021 DE Garrett RandWisconsin
News Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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