The Wisconsin Badgers football team has looked excellent all-around thus far during their Spring season. One of the best qualities this Badgers team has is the depth of talent across the board. Each position room seems more talented than the next, and hidden inside each room are hungry players waiting for their chance. One such player perfectly fits the mold of what new offensive coordinator Phil Longo is looking for in his offense.
Wisconsin Badgers Football: Jack Pugh Ready to Breakout in 2023
The six foot five, 235 pound Jack Pugh fills the room whenever he walks in. Pugh is a big body target for quarterbacks and he is able to cover plenty of ground for his size. Pugh is not a slow, lanky tight end, but rather an explosive touchdown threat who has a good chance to play in the NFL in the future. Whether the ball is over the top, or back behind him, Pugh is able to find a way to secure the catch every time.
In the class of 2021, Pugh was ranked as a four-star recruit by 247 Sports alongside his 11th overall position ranking. Pugh also appeared as the tenth overall recruit from his home state of Ohio and chose the Badgers over Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, and many others. Now in 2023, Pugh is a red-shirt sophomore for the Wisconsin Badgers behind Hayden Rucci and Clay Cundiff.
Both Rucci and Cundiff caught touchdowns last season and played a significant role in the offense a year ago. Jack Eschenbach also found his way onto the field and played a solid amount for the Badgers in the run game especially. While the tight end trio had success last season, Phil Longo is going to institute his air-raid, pass-heavy offense that will see far more opportunities for every player to catch footballs. Longo offers a high paced style of play that confuses defenses and continually attacks them.
One former player who was coached by Phil Longo at Sam Houston State, Jeremiah Briscoe, stated that Longo is not “Married to one system” which allows his offense to flourish. Longo uses the tools he has in front of him to make the most of the offense, and one of those tools in Jack Pugh has yet to touch the field. However, Longo has seemed committed to using Pugh during Spring practice.
Can Jack Pugh Breakout for the Wisconsin Badgers, Phil Longo?
This past season at the University of North Carolina, Phil Longo had three tight ends combined for over a 1000 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. In 2021, the result was similar with nearly 800 yards and eight touchdowns as well. Wisconsin, on the other hand, barely reached 400 yards between three tight ends a year ago with their leading receiver Chimere Dike sitting at 689 yards.
UW's fifth practice just wrapped up. Will Pauling took most/all his reps with the first team in the slot. Jack Pugh continues to stand out and Ricardo Hallman has another really nice day.
Chimere Dike stood out too. Connected with Mordecai a handful of times. #Badgers
— Raul Vazquez (@VazquezRivals) April 4, 2023
The Wisconsin Badgers will certainly look, and play, much differently from their past teams. One of the keys to doing so will be properly utilizing the depth at every position. Jack Pugh has the physical talent to make plays at the collegiate level, but has not had the right chance to do so yet. Under the guidance of coach Longo, Pugh could go back to his high school where the talented athlete would soar across the field to make catches.
In just a short period of time, Longo and Pugh have already connected and begun to develop a plan for the season. With the right coaching and opportunities in the upcoming season, Wisconsin could certainly see a physical threat in Pugh taking over at tight end.
Follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content and @JarrettGuerrera on Twitter. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here! Check out 97.3 The Game on iHeart Radio!