Fall Camp Guide: Receivers and tight ends

Deep positions have a great deal of talent, but key players need to step up and be more productive

Starter returning: Senior wide receiver Brandon Williams, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds (2004 stats: 12 starts, 12 games, 42 receptions for 417 yards.)

Key returnees: Senior tight end Owen Daniels, 6-3, 247 (three starts, 12 games, 25 catches for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns); senior tight end Jason Pociask, 6-3, 258 (four starts, 11 games, 4 catches for 60 yards); senior wide receiver Jonathan Orr, 6-3, 190 (one start, 12 games, 13 receptions for 177 yards and three touchdowns); sophomore wide receiver Jarvis Minton, 6-1, 202 (six games); junior wide receiver Jeff Holzbauer, 5-11, 190 (seven games as a backup receiver and on special teams) and senior wide receiver Brandon White, 6-3, 190 (12 games; 17 catches for 195 yards).

Newcomers: Freshmen tight end Garrett Graham, 6-4, 225; tight end Jae McFadden, 6-3, 215; and wide receiver T.J. Theus, 6-2, 185.

Also in the mix: Senior tight end Joel Nellis, 6-4, 239 (four games); sophomore tight end Matt Brown, 6-5, 219; redshirt freshman tight end Sean Lewis, 6-7, 235; redshirt freshman tight end Dave Peck, 6-5, 240; sophomore wide receiver Paul Hubbard, 6-4, 216 (nine games as backup receiver and on special teams); sophomore receiver Marcus Randle El, 5-10, 186 (seven games, including some snaps at quarterback; 11 carries for 29 yards; 2 receptions for 7 yards; returned a punt for 10 yards); sophomore receiver Luke Swan, 6-0, 197 (one game); redshirt freshman receiver Joe Walker, 6-2, 195; and junior wide receiver Derek Konkol, 5-9, 182.

Departures: Tight end Tony Paciotti (nine starts, 12 games and 3 catches for 40 yards) and wide receiver Darrin Charles (eight starts, 12 games, 25 catches for 333 yards and three touchdowns).

Reasons to be excited: These are very deep, senior-dominated groups... Daniels is one of the best tight ends in the Big Ten. He can line up in the slot or as a wide receiver and challenge defenses with his pass catching ability… Pociask is a good blocker and a fine compliment for Daniels at tight end… Williams is a steady player who needs just 33 receptions to break UW's career record… White has improved by leaps and bounds over the past year-and-a-half and could be in line for a break out season… On talent alone, Orr would be an All-Big Ten receiver and the Badgers are optimistic that he will have a strong senior season… In addition to the senior class, there is good depth at both tight end and receiver among younger players… Minton, Holzbauer and Randle El are all good candidates for the No. 4 receiver spot.

Cause for trepidation: After a highly productive redshirt freshman season, Orr has struggled with his consistency and confidence. His teammates and coaches expect him to have a good season this year; UW sorely needs him to become a playmaker and a deep threat for the passing game… Williams has been productive but needs to make more big plays… Daniels needs to prove he is a better blocker in order to keep defenses honest.

Camp questions: Will Orr assert himself as one of UW's top options? He finished last season as the No. 4 receiver, so there are no guarantees that he will start this season. White will push him throughout camp… Who emerges as the No. 4 receiver? Minton and Holzbauer both had excellent spring seasons but Randle El and perhaps even Hubbard could jump into the spot… Is Williams completely healthy? He missed almost all of spring workouts while recovering from a stress fracture in his shin — the same injury that kept him out of spring workouts in 2003. He is expected to be at full strength this fall and the Badgers need that to be case.

Forecast: Receiver and tight end are the deepest positions on the Badgers' roster to open camp and should be productive this year… The puzzle is Orr. He is a hard-working, exceptionally athletic receiver with ideal size, but will he put it together this year? It is unlikely that he will match the 847 receiving yards he had in 2002, but expect Orr to become one of quarterback John Stocco's favorite targets this year… Williams will break Lee Evans' career receptions record but not by much. Expect Williams to play well but to be a bit less productive as Daniels, Orr, tailback Brian Calhoun and White eat into his touches.

BadgerNation.com projected depth chart


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