Wisconsin Freshmen to Watch in 2017

What freshman should you be watching this spring for the upcoming 2017 season for the Wisconsin Badgers? For the umpteenth year in a row, the Wisconsin Badgers bring in a class that isn’t flashy on the ratings. However, this class will likely breed many future starters as they develop throughout their time in Madison.

That isn’t to say that there isn’t the potential for players who have the ability to make an immediate impact come fall. Guys like AJ Taylor, Quintez Cephus, Sojourn Shelton, Olive Sagapolu, Corey Clement and more are all recent examples of players who have made quick impacts as a true freshman. The Class of 2017 is no exception. There looks to be a few freshman with the ability to make plays at the next level as freshman. They might not be high in the recruiting rankings, but they possess the necessary skill sets to succeed and develop quickly at Wisconsin.

Here are the picks for Freshman to Watch for Wisconsin in 2017:

Cade Green

  • WR, 5’11/185
  • Lake Travis (Austin, TX)
  • When watching Cade Green’s hudl tape, I noticed two distinct traits in his game. First, his exceptional route running ability. He can break on a dime, and whiz around defenders with his incredibly quick feet. Secondly, his outstanding run blocking ability. He has shown to be a relentless blocker, with a knack for always finishing off his blocks. Both of these qualities are essential when it comes to playing the wide receiver position for Paul Chryst’s offense. I’m no future teller of any sorts, and I know this is a lofty comparison, but he kind of reminds me of a former Badger fans love, Jared Abbrederis. With the loss of Robert Wheelwright to graduation, a spot is open in the receiving corps, and Green has the qualities to not only earn a spot in the rotation, but compete for significant playing time.

Faion Hicks

  • CB, 5’11/180
  • Charles W. Flanagan (Hollywood, FL)
  • Wisconsin has a history of snatching up underrated defensive backs down in Florida and having them succeed in Madison, and Hicks seems to be next in line. Hicks, an early enrollee at UW, was recruited hard by newly appointed defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, as well as defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield. On tape, you can clearly see not only Hicks’ physicality, but his quick lateral movement and agility, which is essential to playing CB at Wisconsin they play a lot of man to man. Leonhard is very high on Hicks, and with him already enrolling himself into the spring program, the possibility of him having an immediate impact only increases.

Jack Coan

  • QB, 6’3/190
  • Sayville (West Sayville, NY)
  • Hear me out here, I know redshirt freshman QB Alex Hornibrook started 9 games and played a significant roll in 11 of Wisconsin’s 14 games, but Chryst may have found his guy to run the Wisconsin offense. Coan not only has the ideal size (6’3 200), but also has a cannon of an arm. He also possess the necessary mobility to move around in the pocket and make plays with his feet. Chryst recruited him hard to get here, and I think with good reason. Coan is also a winter enrollee, which will only help his chances at possibly winning the QB job. While he may not win it outright, I think there is a strong chance he either plays, or eventually wins the job outright given his talent. His talent alone will give Wisconsin the chance to succeed offensively. He brings an added element not only through the run game, but also in the air with his arm.

Wisconsin is not known for flashy recruits, or landing big names out of high school. They are known for developing underrated recruits that fit their system. Trusting the process will give them the best possible chance to succeed on the field. However, that doesn’t mean they’re inept to having impact freshman. I believe the players on this list might just be in that grouping. Given the abilities they bring to not only their position groups, but also the team.


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