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Wisconsin football: Week 5 depth chart, injury report vs. Illinois

An overview of the Wisconsin Badgers' preliminary depth chart and injury report heading into Week 5 and their matchup with Illinois.
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The past three weeks have not gone according to plan for the Wisconsin Badgers (2-2 overall, 0-1 B1G), losing two of their past three games. With Big Ten play in full swing, the Badgers will hope to get back on track this weekend against the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-1 overall, 0-1 B1G). 

Ahead of the Week 5 contest with Illinois, the Wisconsin Badgers released a preliminary depth chart and injury report. Here is a look at those two weekly updates and what they mean for the UW.

Preliminary Injury Report

Out against Illinois:

  • Cornerback Alexander Smith (RS SR) - right hamstring injury
  • Safety Hunter Wohler (SO) - left leg injury
  • Kicker Vito Calvaruso (JR) - right leg injury
  • Tight end Clay Cundiff (RS JR) - left leg injury
  • Tight end Cam Large (RS SO) - right leg injury
  • Outside linebacker Aaron Witt (RS SO) - right leg injury
  • Quarterback Chase Wolf (Redshirt SR) - right knee injury

Out for the season:

  • Defensive end Isaac Townsend (RS JR) - left leg injury
  • Safety Travian Blaylock (RS SR) - right knee injury
  • Defensive end Mike Jarvis (FR) - left leg injury
  • Inside linebacker Luna Larson (FR) - right leg injury

Senior cornerback Alexander Smith continues to deal with a nagging hamstring injury and he is officially listed as out for this week early on. Kicker Vito Calvaruso is also an early scratch for the Illinois game, meaning that Nate Van Zelst will remain the primary field goal kicker. 

Though it is not a surprise, Clay Cundiff is also not going to be available. He will likely be out for multiple weeks with a left leg fracture he sustained against OSU. Cundiff was one of the Badgers most important pass catchers, so his absence will be felt.

Along the offensive line, starting tackles Jack Nelson and Riley Mahlman are each not on the preliminary injury report. Nelson missed the Ohio State game with an illness, while Mahlman has not suited up since the opener against Illinois State. It will be interesting to see if Wisconsin can get one (or both) back this weekend. 

Depth Chart

  • Quarterback
  1. Graham Mertz (RS JR)
  2. Myles Burkett (FR) OR Deacon Hill (RS FR)

Running back

  1. Braelon Allen (SO)
  2. Chez Mellusi (SR)
  3. Isaac Guerendo (RS SR)


  1. Jackson Acker (RS FR)
  2. Riley Nowakowski (RS SO)

Wide receiver

  1. Chimere Dike (JR) & Skyler Bell (RS FR)
  2. Markus Allen (RS FR) & Keontez Lewis (SO)

Tight end

  1. Hayden Rucci (RS JR)
  2. Jack Eschenbach (RS SR)

With Clay Cundiff out for the foreseeable future with a substantial leg injury, Hayden Rucci moves up to the No. 1 role in the tight end room. Senior Jack Eschenbach who has seen meaningful reps over the past three seasons will be the No. 2 tight end now as well. 

Wisconsin tight end Clay Cundiff being carted off the field against Ohio State.

Wisconsin starting tight end Clay Cundiff being carted off the field with a leg injury against Ohio State. 

Left tackle

  1. Jack Nelson (RS SO)
  2. Nolan Rucci (RS FR)

After missing the Ohio State game with an illness, Jack Nelson is on the early depth chart for this week and is not on the injury report. That is potentially good news for him and the left side of the Wisconsin offensive line. 

Left guard

  1. Tyler Beach (6-yr SR)
  2. Joe Brunner (FR)


  1. Joe Tippmann (RS JR)
  2. Trey Wedig (RS SO)

Right guard

  1. Tanor Bortolini (RS SO)
  2. Michael Furtney (RS SR)

Tanor Bortolini earned the starting nod against Ohio State on Saturday and it appears as though the job is now his after he missed the first two games with a knee injury. Bortolini is a young and talented option for the Badgers at right guard. 

Right tackle

  1. Riley Mahlman (RS FR)
  2. Logan Brown (RS JR)

Riley Mahlman is once again not on the weekly status report, but he has not played the past three contests. We will see if he is available against Illinois, but if he isn't, there is a good chance that both Logan Brown and Trey Wedig will have opportunities at right tackle.

Defensive end

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  1. Isaiah Mullens (RS SR) & Rodas Johnson (RS JR)
  2. James Thompson Jr. (RS SO) & Cade McDonald (RS SO)

Nose tackle

  1. Keeanu Benton (SR)
  2. Gio Paez (RS JR)

Outside linebacker

  1. Nick Herbig (JR) & C.J. Goetz (RS SR)
  2. Kaden Johnson (RS SO) & Darryl Peterson (RS FR)

Inside linebacker

  1. Jordan Turner (RS SO) & Maema Njongmeta (RS JR)
  2. Tate Grass (RS JR) & Jake Chaney (SO)


  1. Jay Shaw (6-yr SR) & Alexander Smith (RS SR)
  2. Semar Melvin (RS JR) & Ricardo Hallman (RS FR)


  1. Cedrick Dort (6th-yr SR)
  2. Justin Clark (7th-yr SR)
Wisconsin safety Hunter Wohler speaking during local Wisconsin media days.

Wisconsin has been without starting safety Hunter Wohler since the home-opener against Illinois State. 

Free safety

  1. Kamo'i Latu (RS JR)
  2. Preston Zachman (RS SO)

Strong safety

  1. John Torchio (RS SR)
  2. Titus Toler (RS JR)


  1. Andy Vujnovich (RS Senior)
  2. Gavin Meyers (RS Sophomore)

Field goals

  1. Vito Calvaruso (Junior)
  2. Nate Van Zelst (RS Freshman)

With Vito Calvaruso on the injury list for a third consecutive game, expect Nate Van Zelst to continue the place-kicking duties for the Badgers. 


  1. Jack Van Dyke (Junior)
  2. Vito Calvaruso (Junior)


  1. Peter Bowden (RS Junior)
  2. Zach Zei (RS Freshman)


  1. Gavin Meyers (RS Sophomore)
  2. Andy Vujnovich (RS Senior)

Punt return

  1. Dean Engram (RS Junior)
  2. Chimere Dike (Junior)

Kick return

  1. Isaac Guerendo (RS Senior)
  2. Keontez Lewis (Sophomore)

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