The Wisconsin Badgers officially concluded spring camp last Friday night and now head into the summer months preparing for the fall.
While spring football is generally a time for self-improvement and overall development, the 15 extra practices also provide players the opportunity to step up and show the coaching staff that they warrant playing time come fall.
While the Badgers were confined to the McClain Center with ongoing renovations to Camp Randall, the offense was able to lay the foundation with new offensive coordinator Bobby Engram and multiple new position coaches on the staff.
Over the next two weeks, All Badgers will take a position-by-position look at some of the general takeaways from the spring and what it could mean for each position group come fall.
Previously covered positions:
Today we focus on the wide receiver position, where some new faces stood out this spring.
This spring provided a glimpse of what the wide receiver room might look like next season for the Wisconsin Badgers.
While multiple players flashed at times this spring, the duo of Chimere Dike and Skyler Bell stole the show.
Dike emerged as the go-to receiving threat for the Badgers with the first-team offense after being a rotational option the past two seasons.
The 6-foot-1 junior was a consistent presence in each practice I saw, and I think he is ready for a big season in 2022. Wisconsin's passing attack is often at its best when there is one primary receiver, and I believe Dike fits that mold after a strong spring.
The coaching staff utilized Dike all over the field, including the slot, and I think he could provide a spark to the passing game for the Badgers next season.
Redshirt freshman Skyler Bell also stood out this spring and put himself in a position to likely be the No. 2 receiver as things currently stand.
Bell is incredibly quick, and Wisconsin worked to get the ball in his hands as a receiver and as a running threat on jet sweeps at times.
The Badgers entered the spring needing at least one young receiver to step up, and Bell definitely answered the call in the practices I saw.
UCLA transfer Keontez Lewis also rotated in with the first-team offense quite a bit, and his blend of size and speed make him an intriguing player come the fall. While he did not make as many plays as Dike and Bell, his ability as a blocker and his athleticism should give him a chance to be a major contributor.
Beyond those three, Markus Allen and Dean Engram also played very well with the second team. Both players made some big plays during the spring, and they should also factor into the offense in the fall. Allen is a bigger-bodied receiver that uses his frame well to shield defenders, while Engram is a quick slot receiver that is relearning the position after switching to wide receiver from cornerback. Allen closed the spring with multiple touchdown receptions during the final practice, and he has the talent to be a difference-maker for the Badgers.
Stephan Bracey missed most of the spring with a nagging injury, so he could also be involved next season, but overall, the Badgers appear to have greater depth at the position heading into the summer.
The fact that multiple receivers stood out and the group was able to make plays down the field this spring was a bright spot, and I think the 15 practices definitely helped the group develop in preparation for the next season.
Projected depth chart:
- Chimere Dike (Junior)
- Skyler Bell (RS Freshman)
- Keontez Lewis (Sophomore)
- Markus Allen (RS Freshman)
- Dean Engram (RS Junior)
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