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Wisconsin football assistant coach profiles: offensive coordinator Bobby Engram

A deeper look at new Wisconsin offensive coordinator Bobby Engram who will take over the offensive play-calling duties in 2022.

The Wisconsin Badgers football coaching staff underwent an uncharacteristically high amount of change since the team beat Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 30.

With several new coaches on the staff, and multiple retained coaches shifting responsibilities, All Badgers will spend the next week providing an overview of each position coach on head coach Paul Chryst's coaching staff.

After covering defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard yesterday, today we turn our attention to the other side of the football, which is under new leadership. Up next, offensive coordinator Bobby Engram

Name: Bobby Engram

Role: Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

Hometown: Camden, South Carolina

High school: Camden High School

Alma mater: Penn State

Years at Wisconsin: Bobby Engram is entering his first season with the Badgers.

Previous coaching experience: Engram has spent the majority of his coaching career in the NFL. He initially worked as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and then spent two seasons with Paul Chryst as the wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He went on to coach the wide receivers for the Baltimore Ravens from 2014 to 2018 before transitioning to coach the tight ends for the Ravens from 2019 to 2021.

Playing career: One of the best college receivers of the 1990s, Engram was a three-time All-American at Penn State and also won the 1994 Biletnikoff Award, given to the top wide receiver in the country. During his career with the Nittany Lions, he finished with over 3,000 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns and is the program's career leader in yards and touchdowns for a wide receiver. 

Based on his production at the college level, Engram was a second-round pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1996 NFL Draft. He remained in the league for 14 years, playing for the Bears, Seattle Seahawks, and Kansas City Chiefs. Engram finished his career with 7,751 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns, with three seasons recording over 900 yards in a season.

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As a recruiter: Engram is primarily responsible for recruiting the quarterback position at the national level. He has been a secondary contact for many position players, given his role as offensive coordinator as well, but most of his offers have gone out to quarterbacks. So far, Engram appears to favor dual-threat quarterbacks that possess the ability to move the pocket and extend plays with their legs, a slight change from the previous quarterbacks recruited under Paul Chryst. 

In terms of geographic ties, Engram has relationships in the greater-Washington DC area, which is a recruiting hotbed. While he has one quarterback offer out in the 2024 class in Maryland, he has shown a willingness to target quarterbacks across the country early on. So far, he has offers out to Lincoln Kienholz of South Dakota for 2023 and other quarterback offers to players from Texas, Arkansas, and Connecticut in the 2024 cycle.

It is too early to tell how good of a recruiter he will be for the Badgers after working in the NFL for so long, but Engram was the primary recruiter for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd and New York Jets safety Jordan Whitehead while with Paul Chryst at Pitt.

Coaching trends: Bobby Engram comes in to help improve Wisconsin's passing game in 2022. The Badgers ranked outside of the top-100 in third down conversion percentage (No. 111) and passing offense (No. 120) while averaging only 25.4 points per game a year ago. With new coaches in the running back, offensive line, and tight end rooms, it will not all fall on Engram's shoulders, but he will be calling the plays for the Badgers in the fall.

This spring there were no wholesale changes to the offense, but there were some noticeable adjustments made. One aspect that stood out was a greater willingness to push the football down the field, an area that Wisconsin struggled with last season. The results were not always there, but the hope is that Engram's background coaching tight ends and wide receivers will help revitalize the throw game.

While Engram is formally the quarterback's coach, he spent a lot of time working with other position groups in the spring, with graduate assistant Kelly Chryst solely working with Graham Mertz and the other signal-callers.

Three miscellaneous facts:

  • His son, Dean Engram, is a junior wide receiver for the Badgers and is expected to be the starting punt returner next season.
  • Bobby Engram helped develop Baltimore Ravens All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews, who is one of the top pass catchers in the AFC.
  • Engram's contract is worth $1 million and will steadily increase over the length of the deal. He is one of the top-paid offensive coordinators in the Big Ten. 

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