True freshman punter Anthony Lotti checks in at No.25 on our list of most indispensable Wisconsin Badgers for 2016

With the season fast approaching, BadgerNation ranks the 25 most indispensable players on Wisconsin's 2016 roster. Coming it at No.25 is true freshman punter Anthony Lotti.

When a school uses a scholarship on a punter, the expectation is for him to be able to come in right away to compete for the starting job. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Anthony Lotti will be given every chance to show he should start over either redshirt sophomore P.J. Rosowski or redshirt freshman Connor Allen when fall camp begins for Wisconsin. With Drew Meyer exhausting his eligibility after last season, special teams coach Chris Haering and special teams assistant Taylor Mehlhaff wanted to make a big splash at the position. They believe they did that with the three-star Lotti, who earned his offer by attending Wisconsin’s specialists camp last summer.   

Stats: First-team All-American by Kohl’s as a senior, averaging 45.4 yards on 49 punts, including 19 placed inside the 20-yard line and 15 of 50-plus yards ... named first-team all-state by Atlanta Journal Constitution and Georgia Sportswriters Association as a junior and senior ... Region 7AAA Special Teams Player of the Year as a senior ... for two-year varsity career, averaged 45.4 yards on 77 punts.

Strengths: It is evident that Lotti has a strong leg and he is able to get good hang time on his punts, but Lotti has shown that he is also accurate with his ability to drop a punt inside the 20-yard line consistently. The ability to deliver a booming kick and then turn around to drop one perfectly next to the goal line is a rare gift for a high school punter, and Lotti certainly has that ability.

Weaknesses: Lotti has the right makeup to succeed at Wisconsin but he has yet to punt in a college game. Haering was impressed by Lotti’s competitiveness at Wisconsin’s specialist camp in winning the punting competition, but can he consistently get good hang times and be good with his drops in order to get a good punt off? The other thing to note with Lotti is will he be asked to be Rafael Gaglianone’s holder, a responsibility that was handled by Meyer during his career at Wisconsin? Should that burden fall on his shoulders, it will become important for Lotti and Gaglianone to gain a comfort with each other so Gaglianone can get a good accurate kick off on either PAT’s or field goals.

Why he’s #25: In order for Lotti to win the job, he’s going to have to show he can be counted on to consistently put the Wisconsin defense in a good position to succeed. Although Lotti’s punting attributes helped earn him a scholarship, Haering also was impressed by Lotti’s confidence in his abilities and talents. If Lotti can consistently use his leg to his advantage, he could find ways of helping Wisconsin make sure the opposition has a long field to drive.  

Overall: Although it is expected that Lotti will win the starting job, Rosowski – who punted in five games last season - will likely be Lotti’s top competition. But when all's said and done, Haering will likely name Lotti as the starter. Wisconsin fans know having a reliable punter is important, as Meyer struggled with his consistency at times during his career. Likely to kick off his collegiate career against LSU at Lambeau Field, Lotti will be counted on to be able to find ways of flipping the field position, helping Wisconsin keep points off the board.

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