On Saturday, Wisconsin walk-on freshman Connor Senger made sure fans remember to put his name into the conversation.
Sharing repetitions for the South Large schools, Senger was the most impressive player on the field in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association all-star game, throwing for 179 yards and four touchdowns and rushing a team-high 49 yards in a 47-19 victory over the North Large schools at UW-Oshkosh.
"I wanted to show what I could do personally," Senger told Badger Nation. "I don't think Wisconsin would have asked me to walk on if they didn't think I could be in the conversation for the starting spot. They probably don't think I have such a good chance compared to the guys they are offering scholarships to, but they still believe that I have some type of chance, which is good enough for me."
Affectionately called "Little Russ" by his Wisconsin teammates because of his physical resemblance to former Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson, the 5-11 185-pound Senger completed 6 of 8 passes (he missed his first two) and generated 228 of the South's 469 total yards. It was the same type of performance he did throughout his career at Milwaukee Pius.
"I wanted to get into a rhythm quick and get rolling from there and playing with this hurry-up offense and these great athletes around me, it all came together," said Senger, who finished his career with 4,564 passing yards and 37 touchdowns through the air and 2,190 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground. "We scored a lot with our offense."
Hoping to become a college coach when his playing career is done, Senger, who turned down lower division opportunities to walk on at Wisconsin, has spent the offseasonwatching a ton of film to prepare him for college football.
"It's really helped me being a student of the game," said Senger. "I am in the film room all the time trying to pick up things and learn offenses."
Senger wasn't the only future Wisconsin player to be involved in the all-star event. Brookfield Central defensive end Chikwe Obasih led all players with seven tackles while defensive backs Matt Hubley (Waukesha Catholic Memorial) and Joe Ferguson (Madison Memorial) added four tackles for the south squad.
Brookfield East's Alec James, the WFCA players of the year, worked at defensive end and defensive tackle and had two tackles. Ben Hemer played on the offensive line for the North team while Aidan McNamara played on the line for the South.
"I love this freshman class that we have right now," said Senger. "We all workout, come back home and spend a lot of time together. We think we are a pretty talented class to help contribute to this Badgers football team. We have a lot of talented scholarship kids who could have an impact right away, but we have some talented walk-ons. Even though we might not get our shots right away, we're going to help somewhere down the road. Overall the class is really solid."
It's been a busy sports year for Senger. After finishing his senior football season with 1,799 passing yards and 13 touchdowns and 917 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, he qualified for state track in the 100-meter dash and was a member of the Popes' baseball team which saw its bid for a state title end Monday in the sectional finals.
When he gets back to offseason workouts Monday, Senger will be focused solely on helping the Badgers this season.
"That's one of the things I am looking forward to with my quarterback game: not having to worry about anything else," said Senger. "I am still going to put in the same amount of time and it's going to be just as hectic, but it's just football now. I am excited to work with the best of the best. They are going to help me get better every day. I am excited to compete every day and see how far I can push myself."