In just about a month, the Wisconsin Badgers will be opening up fall camp for the 2020 season. Position battles and depth charts will be determined and become more clear as September 4th approaches. The 2019 Badgers return a good core of their offense from a year ago. Although, there are starters that need to be replaced. As a result, players such as Jonathan Taylor, Quintez Cephus, and Tyler Biadasz need to be replaced on the offensive side of the ball. In this article, we will look at my early predictions for the starting offense in 2020.
Quarterback- Jack Coan (Sr.)
Jack Coan returns as the incumbent for the starting quarterback position. In his first full year as a starter, Coan was very efficient and improved as every week went along. He completed 69.5% of his passes for 18 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. He was also a decent running quarterback and had key rushing touchdowns against Michigan and Ohio State. Coan made very few mistakes last year and should be the favorite to be under center in week one.
Wisconsin fans know the name Graham Mertz very well. There hasn’t been hype surrounding a quarterback in program history like Graham Mertz. Mertz enters the year as a redshirt freshman after appearing in two games last year as a true freshman. I’m excited to see what Mertz brings to the program in the future. Right now,it’s clear Coan should be under center barring injury or poor performance.
Running Back- Nakia Watson (So.)
The running back room needs to replace one of the best players in program history in Jonathan Taylor. The good news is, Wisconsin consistently has one of the best running back rooms in the country. This year and moving forward should be no different. Nakia Watson was the back up to Jonathan Taylor last year and showed flashed of what he brings. He has the most carries in the position group and has the experience that is needed to step up immediately. I like what Watson brings to the table and I expect him to be the starter week one.
Garrett Groshek will also line up in the backfield as well this year. The redshirt senior is the veteran of the group and can pass block and catch just as well as run. He will get his reps and his number called as well. The best part of this group is the young talent. Issac Guerendo and Julius Davis return his year and both have upside that is unquestioned. Incoming true freshman Jalen Berger is a four star prospect who will be competing for playing time as well. This is a group that could end the year as one of the best position groups on the roster.
Wide Receivers- Danny Davis III (Sr.) and Kendric Pryor (R-Sr.)
This is pretty clear as to who starts for Wisconsin this year. Pryor and Davis have been effective their first three years in Madison. They both have the ability to catch, play the slot, and run in the jet sweep. As a result, Pryor and Davis lead a group of relatively inexperienced receivers and will need to lead this group, especially early on.
Redshirt seniors Jack Dunn and Adam Krumholz look to be next in line on the depth charts. Both have made their careers as special team players. Both have a great deal of game experience which can’t be taken lightly. I expect both Dunn and Krumholz to receive their share of offensive snaps in 2020. Other young receivers to look for are redshirt juniors Cade Green and Emmet Perry as well as redshirt sophomores Taj Mustapha and A.J. Abbott.
Offensive Line- Cole Van Lanen (R-Sr.), Tyler Beach (R-Jr), Kayden Lyles (R-Jr.), Logan Bruss (R-Jr), Josh Seltzner (R-Jr)
Wisconsin needs to replace starters on the offensive line from 2020. They also look to to be in great shape replacing Tyler Biadasz, Jason Erdmann, and David Moorman. Van Lanen returns after considering the 2020 NFL draft. Logan Bruss started 12 games last season as well four games from both Lyles and Seltzner. Tyler Beach started two games last year so i give him the early nod to start on the offensive line.
Similar to the running back group, the offensive line is loaded with young studs who will make an impact this year and as their careers go along. Two players I’m looking for are freshmen Logan Brown and Joe Tippman. Brown redshirted last year and is a five star offensive tackle who will be competing for reps as long as he stays healthy. Tippman also redshirted last year and is a four star tackle. I’m excited to see who comes out as the early starters on the offensive line when September 4th arrives.
Tight End- Jake Ferguson (R-Jr.)
Jake Ferguson is the clear starter at the tight end position. After a productive sophomore campaign in 2019, Ferguson considered entering the 2020 NFL Draft, but decided to return to Madison for his junior year. He will be the workhorse and the leader of the position group in 2020 and is considered to a top tight end selection in the 2021 NFL draft.
After Ferguson, it’s up for grabs. Unfortunately, the tight end group after Ferguson have dealt with inexperience and injury history. Early signs potentially look at redshirt senior Gabe Lloyd as the backup to Ferguson. Lloyd is coming off a season ending injury early in 2019 and will look to end his career on a strong note.
Fullback- Mason Stokke (R-Sr.)
Fullback has treated Wisconsin very well over the years. Mason Stokke enters as the starter at fullback after taking over for Alec Ingold. Stokke looks to be the favorite early on. Junior John Chenal will also receive a bulk of reps as well because of his prior experience as well. These two will be good for the relatively young running back position. This should be a strong position for Wisconsin in 2020.