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Although much of Wisconsin’s receiving core battled injuries last season, tight end Jake Ferguson remained a consistent target for redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz. Ferguson may not have had his stats from a typical season, but he was the number one option for Wisconsin in the passing game last year.
In fact, Ferguson was one of the only tight ends to make the top 15 in touchdown receptions in the Big Ten in 2020. The Madison, Wisconsin, native’s consistent presence in the passing game has helped multiple Wisconsin quarterbacks adjust to playing in the Big Ten over his Badger career, and it will be a welcome sight to see him returning alongside Mertz next season.
Below is the ranking of the top 15 players in touchdown receptions from the Big Ten Conference 2020 season. Players from Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers made the rankings.
13. Josh Imatorbhebhe, Illinois, 3 touchdown receptions
Oct 19, 2019; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe (9) receives a pass for a touchdown during the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
13. Jayden Reed, Michigan State, 3 touchdown receptions
Michigan State's Jayden Reed, left, catches a touchdown as Northwestern's Cameron Ruiz defends during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
201128 Msu Northwestern 100a
13. Whop Philyor, Indiana, 3 touchdown receptions
Whop Philyor led the Hoosiers with 70 catches and 1,002 receiving yards last season.
Rutgers At Indiana University
8. Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin, 4 touchdown receptions
Nov 14, 2020; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Wisconsin Badgers tight end Jake Ferguson (84) leaps over Michigan Wolverines defensive back Daxton Hill (30) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
8. Ramaud Chiaokhiao, Northwestern, 4 touchdown receptions
Nov 14, 2020; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Northwestern Wildcats wide receiver Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman (81) catches a touchdown while Purdue Boilermakers cornerback Dedrick Mackey (1) defends in the game at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
8. Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa, 4 touchdown receptions
Iowa senior receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette grabs his ankle after doing a celebratory flip in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against Wisconsin on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
8. Dontay Demus, Maryland, 4 touchdown receptions
Oct 30, 2020; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. (7) scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
8. Jalen Nailor, Michigan State, 4 touchdown receptions
Michigan State wide receiver Jalen Nailor celebrates his touchdown catch-and-run against Northwestern during the first half at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.
6. Chris Olave, Ohio State, 5 touchdown receptions
Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave (2) makes a catch against Michigan State cornerback Kalon Gervin (18) during the second half at the Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020.
6. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State, 5 touchdown receptions
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) scores a touchdown during the second quarter of a NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
Cfb Rutgers Scarlet Knights At Ohio State Buckeyes
4. Parker Washington, Penn State, 6 touchdown receptions
Parker Washington of Penn State crosses the goal line scoring Penn State's first TD of the game in the first half during Big Ten college football match up, Penn State at Rutgers in Piscataway, NJ on December 5, 2020.
Big Ten College Football Penn State At Rutgers In Piscataway Nj On December 5 2020
4. Bo Melton, Rutgers, 6 touchdown receptions
Dec 5, 2020; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Bo Melton (18) catches a touchdown pass over Penn State cornerback Daequan Hardy (25) during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
3. Ty Fryfogle, Indiana, 7 touchdown receptions
Nov 7, 2020; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Ty Fryfogle (3) caches a pass one handed against Michigan Wolverines defensive back Vincent Gray (4) during the first quarter of the game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
1. Jahan Dotson, Penn State, 8 touchdown receptions
Dec 19, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Jahan Dotson (5) returns the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
1. David Bell, Purdue, 8 touchdown receptions
Nov 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell (3) catches a touchdown pass over Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Jalen Glaze (12) in the second half at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports