News and notes: Jonathan Orr's big-play ability likely makes him the starter opposite Brandon Williams, but senior Darrin Charles will see the field just as often and could be even more productive….in addition to the top three, Brandon White, Jeff Holzbauer, Marcus Randle El, Paul Hubbard and Jarvis Minton were "in the depth" at the end of fall camp…Randle El made the transition from high school quarterback to receiver.
Fall MVP: Charles. Brandon Williams will catch more passes and make more plays. Jonathan Orr has more potential. But Charles had the best combination of steady and stellar during this camp. After missing spring workouts with an injury, he was available for every practice this fall and he played increasingly well as the camp progressed. He caught the ball with consistency and strong form, always getting his hands out and snagging the passes. Particularly on passes downfield, he showed why his combination of size and athleticism should be a weapon this year.
Player on the rise: Jarvis Minton. There still is no guarantee he will play this season, but it is looking increasingly clear that he belongs. For a true freshman who played in a very run-heavy offense, Minton is exceptionally developed as a receiver. His hands are soft and his route-running is strong. He has enough size and athletic ability to develop into a solid starter down the road. Look for him to take that step in 2006.
Questions answered: Depth was somewhat of a concern after Lee Evans' eligibility ran out and Ernest Mason's ignominious departure. Williams, Charles and Orr were proven commodities, and UW can find a role for Brandon White, but the development of true freshmen Minton and Marcus Randle El, the potential of a Paul Hubbard and the solid consistency of an unheralded reserve such as Jeff Holzbauer gives the Badgers some solid options.
Williams is the prime target but it was clear through fall camp that new quarterback John Stocco will find Orr and Charles often as well. Tight end Owen Daniels, another favorite target, may still flex out to receiver from time to time.
The Badgers are obviously pushing Hubbard along with a purpose in mind. Hubbard was a non factor in fall workouts but had a very strong spring coupled with an exceptional outdoor track season. He is still more track athlete than football player, but if he learns the finer points and becomes a consistent, durable receiver, he could start as a junior or senior.
Questions remain: Orr and Charles made a lot of plays by the time fall camp wrapped up and were playing good, consistent football by the end of camp. Now, the question remains whether or not they can keep it up when the season begins for real.
How will the Badgers use Brandon White? After a great spring, he looked completely lost when fall camp began but rebounded to re-solidify himself as the No. 4 receiver. A designated blocker in the past, he has the talent to make plays in the passing game. When he was on his game last spring and in the fall, there was no better route-runner on the team.
Can Brandon Tobias work his way off the scout team? Tobias has imposing size (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), and good athleticism. He had a very hard time learning the offense and running routes properly last year and his hands were inconsistent. He improved quite a bit this fall but still had some lapses, apparently big enough to land him on the scout team for another year. The Badgers have some youth in the depth so there could be room for Tobias to move up. Despite being on the scout team, this is a huge year for the young player.
Final note: Three, maybe four players with 35 or more catches? If you include tight end Owen Daniels in the mix, it is possible, perhaps even probable. The receptions should be widely dispersed this season and Williams, Orr and Charles will each have their time in the sun.
Fall camp wrap, wide receivers
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