Starter returning – Brandon Williams, 5-11, 175, Jr. (18 career starts, 27 games, 101 receptions, 1,312 yards, 4 touchdowns).
More key returnees – Jonathan Orr, 6-3, 183, Jr. (14-27-54-959-8); Darrin Charles, 6-6, 210, Sr. (11-38-59-819-6)
Newcomers – freshmen Jarvis Minton, 6-1, 190, and Jack Ikegwuonu, 6-1, 195.
Also in the mix – Brandon White, 6-3, 187, Jr.; Jeff Holzbauer, 5-11, 188, So.; Paul Hubbard, 6-4, 195, R-Fr.; Brandon Tobias, 6-5, 232, R-Fr.; Luke Swan, 6-0, 193, R-Fr.
Key departures – Lee Evans, Ernest Mason.
Additional departures – Enrique Cook, Travann Hayes, Byron Brown.
Top marks in 2003 – Lee Evans – 64 receptions, 1,213 yards, 13 touchdowns, 93.9 yards per game average, 19.0 yards per catch average.
Top marks in 2003 (returning players) – Brandon Williams – 49 catches, 649 yards, 49.9 yards per game. Darrin Charles – 2 touchdowns, 15.5 yards per reception.
Reasons to be excited – Brandon Williams is ready to break out and Darrin Charles, Jonathan Orr and Brandon White could give Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco plenty of options. There is a diverse set of skills here as well. Williams is a nifty athlete and a tough competitor, White is an exceptional blocker and route-runner, and Orr and Charles have the size to overpower opposing secondaries and the athleticism to get downfield. Replacing a legend such as Lee Evans is easier with options in Orr and Charles that have been starters in the past.
The receiving corps will also receive a boost from tight end Owen Daniels, who will split out wide in some formations. Incoming freshmen quarterback Marcus Randle El may also work in at receiver.
He may not be ready this year, but redshirt freshman Paul Hubbard is the type of athlete coaches dream of.
Cause for trepidation – Williams will get his catches and make his plays. But will there be another consistent playmaker? Charles and Orr have the potential but need to provide a spark consistently. The unit has sufficient talent returning but most of the reserves are inexperienced pass catchers.
Camp questions – Charles and Orr will battle for a starting spot opposite Williams throughout camp. The loser may need to battle Daniels and White for a spot in three-receiver sets. White made huge strides in the spring. The Badgers will have to find out this fall if he can be a viable receiving option. Just how many receivers Wisconsin trusts with consistent playing time will also have to be worked out this fall. With multi-faceted players like Daniels and Randle El at its disposal, it will be interesting to see how creative can become.
Player on the rise – Williams. With Evans set to start for the Buffalo Bills, Williams is now the top target in the Badgers' receiving corps. His playmaking ability has been obvious the past two seasons. Now is his opportunity to become one of the elite players in the Big Ten.
Player on the spot – Orr. After a fantastic freshmen season, Orr's production dropped precipitously last season, largely due to the return of Evans. Orr has all of the physical tools to be a dominant receiver. He just needs confidence and consistency.
Forecast – Orr will start and play well, though his numbers may not match the 847 yards and eight touchdowns he compiled two years ago. Williams will come into his own as a No. 1 receiver, helping pave the way for a top-of-the-conference passing game.
BadgerNation.com projected depth chart
Fall Camp Guide: wide receivers
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