Max Siker/BadgerNation

Wisconsin has Rob Wheelwright and Jazz Peavy, but who else do the Badgers have at receiver?

The fourth of BadgerNation's 12 part series, we look at a group of talented, mostly unproven players trying to make a mark at wide receiver.

It was an anomaly of a year for the passing game last season.

Not only did Wisconsin average a school-record 32.2 pass attempts a game, but Alex Erickson (Wisconsin’s leading receiver at 978) outgained Dare Ogunbowale (Wisconsin’s leading rusher at 819). In the modern era of Wisconsin football (since 1946), that has happened only 12 times and not since 2003, when Lee Evans outgained Dwayne Smith, 1,213 to 857.

Over the last two seasons, no receiver was more dependable that Erickson. In that time frame Erickson led the team in receptions both seasons and registered a total of 132 catches. Total up the number by the seven different receivers who registered at least one catch the last two seasons for Wisconsin and Erickson still had 19 more catches than the lot.

"The whole group, it’s time for some of those guys to step in to make plays,” wide receiver coach Ted Gilmore said. “It can’t be a mindset that by a numbers game I’m going to get the reps. You’ve still got to earn it, and the guys have to understand that we’re going to add more bodies to the mix this fall, and we’re going to see what they can do. You’ve got to put yourself in position, in the coach’s mind, that this guy is ready to take the next step. That applies to so many of them."

Gilmore has always been willing to give an honest assessment about his wide receivers and what he said during spring was accurate. Wisconsin does return four players to the position that caught a pass last season. But of those 57 catches by the foursome, Rob Wheelwright and Jazz Peavy the two projected starters, combined for 52 of them.

It will be difficult to replace Erickson’s 77 receptions but the expectation is for Wheelwright to improve upon his 32 catches and become Wisconsin’s number one wide receiver. But the question that surrounds him is ... 

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Past Features 

July 27 - Quarterbacks

July 28 - Running Backs

July 29 - Fullbacks

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