Wisconsin's 2012 season was filled with more ups and downs the stock market. For a program accustomed to stability in the last decade-plus, the 2012 season was anything but stable.
That trend seems to be continuing in the early months of the 2013 calendar year.
New coach Gary Andersen hit the recruiting trail hard and targeted quarterback as a position of interest.
The Badgers signed highly regarded Arizona Western College quarterback Tanner McEvoy
. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound juco recruit joins a crowded field vying for snaps in the upcoming season.
McEvoy will have three years of eligibility left. His college coach, Tom Minnick, compares McEvoy to Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. A former South Carolina signee, McEvoy joins Joel Stave
, Danny O'Brien
, Curt Phillips and Bart Houston and Chase Knox, both of whom redshirted in 2012.
Jon Budmyr is also in the mix. That gives the Badgers six quarterbacks for the spring practice period, until McEvoy arrives on campus to raise that number to seven.
"We just want to create competition; he adds another dimension to the quarterback position," Andersen said of McEvoy. "His ability to be able to run is a positive. Does that mean he's the starting quarterback? No, (the) best guy will be whoever performs and leads the team the best way."
Andersen signed a class of 19 scholarship players, headlined by McEvoy and highly recruited tailback Corey Clement. With the graduation of Montee Ball, Clement joins a talented core of running backs already in palace. Clement's has the ability to become the next great Wisconsin tailback.
The Wisconsin coaching staff attacked the troubled secondary that lost three starters by signing five defensive backs, with Jakarrie Washington, Matt Hubley and Donnell Vercher headlining the group.
The class has six players from the state of Wisconsin, with defensive ends James and Chikwe Obasih possibly becoming impact players soon. The most interesting signee is T.J. Watt, brother of NFL star J.J. Watt.
TOP OF THE CLASS
RB Corey Clement (Glassboro High in Glassboro, N.J.) -- A four-star recruit according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout. Ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the state of New Jersey by ESPN, Clement rushed for 2,323 yards and 33 touchdowns last year.
LB Garret Dooley (Rochester High in Rochester, Ill.) -- The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Dooley comes from a small school, but produced big results. A four-star ESPN recruit, Dooley played linebacker and running back in high school. A tough, hard-nosed player with a high upside.
QB Tanner McEvoy (Arizona Western (Junior) College -- A former South Carolina signee, McEvoy honed his game at Arizona Western College. He immediately becomes a top candidate for the open starting position. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, McEvoy has great size, a strong arm and experience.
DB Sojourn Shelton (Plantation High in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) --A top recruit with the ability to help in special teams. Shelton was named a first-team all-county by South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald.
TE T.J. Watt (Pewaukee High in Pewaukee, Wis.) -- His name alone merits attention. The younger brother of Houston Texan and former Wisconsin star DE end, J.J. Watt, T.J. is a talented tight end, but might be a future defensive end later in his career.
Practice priorities: The Badgers have three talented quarterbacks vying for the starting position in new coach Gary Andersen's offense. Joel Stave, Danny O'Brien, Curt Phillips all started at least two games last season. Redshirt freshman Bart Houston, a big-time prospect coming out of high school, might enter into the mix after missing last season because of a shoulder surgery. Andersen must get acclimated to his new team and coaches, plus find a quarterback and work on finding some players to mask the holes in the secondary.
--RB James White is finally the man at running back in 2013. At least for now. White is coming off three very productive seasons and might finally get his chance to be the feature tailback with Montee Ball off to the NFL. White and Melvin Gordon might form the new one-two punch. White has all the makings of being a 1,500-yard runner.
--WR Jared Abbrederis has become a staple in Wisconsin's offense after coming to Madison as a walk-on. He was Wisconsin's best receiver last season, catching 49 passes for 837 yards and five touchdowns in playing in 13 of Wisconsin's 14 games. Abbrederis is a valuable player on special teams, leading the Badgers in punt returns with 111 yards on 17 returns.
--RB Melvin Gordon is an intriguing player for Wisconsin's offense. He should get plenty of more touches next season. Gordon ran wild in the Big Ten title game victory over Nebraska. Gordon's got breakaway speed and flashed his potential in his first year. Next year, the then-sophomore is slated to be one of the feature backs with Ball out of the picture.
--QB Joel Stave is healthy after breaking his collarbone against Michigan State. Stave fits former coach Bret Bielema's offense to a tee, managing the game and keeping turnovers at a minimum. Entering his sophomore year, Stave has a bright future, but might be the ideal quarterback for new coach Gary Andersen's system.
--LB Chris Borland is the heart and soul of Wisconsin's defense. He will take on an even bigger role in 2013. Last season Borland missed the Ohio State and Penn State games because of a hamstring injury. The Badgers lost both games. He finished second on the team with 104 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. He formed a great combination with Mike Taylor. Losing Taylor, the leading tackler for the last two years, hurts, but Borland is ready to take the next step in his development.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Gary Andersen