Playing in 24 games the last two seasons, junior wide receiver Rob Wheelwright has only three receptions to his name but it was only catch last year that could make the big difference. With a game-clinching 17-yard touchdown against rival Minnesota, Wheelwright now has the confidence that he can make big plays when it matters most.
Strengths: Wheelwright has plenty of strengths, but what seems to be his biggest two is his athleticism and playmaking ability. Wheelwright has the ability to make the big plays (we’ve seen it in practice) and has a great frame (6-3, 207 pounds) that he can use to his advantage, especially over a Big Ten cornerback.
Weaknesses: With the exception of his clutch catch against Minnesota, Wheelwright has yet to show his abilities in games. He’s also had trouble staying healthy, as rarely a spring or fall camp goes by without Wheelwright missing practice time with some sort of ailment. Wheelwright needs to prove himself early on in this season to establish himself as the team’s No.2 receiver behind senior Alex Erickson.
Why he is #12: Wheelwright breaks the top 15 for the simple fact that he needs to be an important part of the Wisconsin offense from day one. There are no established pass catchers in the wide receiver room other than Erickson. He has the potential; it’s just a matter of if he can make an instant impact this season and gain the trust of senior quarterback Joel Stave.
Overall: The Wisconsin offense has not been known as a passing offense the last two years, something first year head coach Paul Chryst will be looking to remedy. In order to do that, the Badgers need athletic, confident players to step up. Wheelwright fits that billing and looks to be a perfect fit to Chryst’s system. It’s up to him to show it, as he’ll be counted on for major contributions for the first time in his career.