Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
University of Wisconsin Badgers
Wautoma High School
The former Badgers staff decided that their quarterback walk-on was too athletic to pine away on the bench, and were looking for opportunities to get their discovery on the field. After spending his first season at the University of Wisconsin auditioning at a variety of positions, Abbrederis made his collegiate debut the following season as a return specialist.
Abbrederis continued to excel during practices and the coaches eventually increased his work load, as he served behind Nick Toon, earning a pair of starting assignments when the split end was injured. It would begin a storied career that would see the former passer from Wautoma High School end up sharing the school's all-time pass catching record with 202 receptions, the 11th-best total in Big Ten Conference history.
At Wautoma High, Abbrederis was a three-time letter-winner in football. He was second-team all-conference quarterback as a sophomore and named second-team all-conference quarterback and first-team all-conference as a defensive back as a junior. As a senior, the two-time team captain again received first-team all-conference on both offense and defense.
Abbrederis threw for 1,657 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2009 to close out his career with 3,014 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,490 yards as a senior, averaging 8.4 yards per carry, 106.4 yards per game and produced 26 rushing touchdowns. He was selected the conference offensive player of the year and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association first-team all-state quarterback as a senior.
Abbrederis also competed in track and wrestling, where he was a two-time state champion and state record holder in 110-meter high hurdles. He was also named the state champion as a senior in the 300-meter hurdles, leading his team to the state championship in 2009. He closed out his career by being selected the Gatorade track athlete of the year and BFS Male National Athlete of the Year as a senior.
The 2011 season was a learning experience for the converted quarterback, but even though he was relegated to mostly return duties during the first half of the schedule, he caught twenty passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He totaled 494 all-purpose yards as a red-shirt freshman, but was primed to becoming a mainstay for the offense during the course of his next three seasons.
As a sophomore, Abbrederis was awarded a scholarship after he took over flanker duties, starting all 14 games. His 1,999 all-purpose yards rank as the sixth-best season total by a Badger, as he finished third in the nation with a 15.8-yard average (second best in UW annals) on twenty punt returns. His 55 receptions rank eighth, 933 receiving yards placed sixth and his eight touchdown grabs are tied for fifth on the Wisconsin annual record charts.
Abbrederis returned to the split end position during his junior campaign after lining up at flanker the previous year. He led the Badgers and ranked third in the Big Ten Conference With 837 yards gained via 49 receptions, reaching the end zone with five of those grabs. His special team duties were relegated only to punt returns, gaining 111 yards on 17 runbacks, as the All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice tallied 1,031 all-purpose yards.
His football career is far from over, but the journey Abbrederis took to the top was worth it, at least to the UW staff, as they saw their inherited receiver record one of the finest seasons by a receiver in school history. He set the UW record with 78 receptions and recorded just the fourth 1,000-yard receiving campaign in UW annals (1,081), as his seven scoring grabs placed seventh on the school record list.
The All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection was named the winner of the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation's most outstanding player that began his career as a walk-on. "You think about the hard work that you put in through the years that brought you to where you are today," Abbrederis said after accepting the fourth-annual award. "All those memories come back and you're honored, blessed."
The award, presented by the Springdale Rotary Club and the Burlsworth Foundation, is named for offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth, who walked on to the team at Arkansas and eventually earned a scholarship on his way to All-SEC and All-America honors. He was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft but was tragically killed just 11 days later in an automobile accident.
A semifinalist for the trophy in 2012, Abbrederis became the first Wisconsin wide receiver to earn first-team all-conference honors in consecutive seasons since Al Toon in 1983 and 1984. He became the first at UW to record at least 800 yards in three different seasons. For a player that walked on to the football team and had originally enrolled at the school to compete in track and field, Abbrederis closed his career ranked in the top 10 in most receiving, punt return, kickoff return and all-purpose yardage categories.
Abbrederis started 39-of-53 games at Wisconsin, including 25 assignments at split end and 14 at flanker…Caught 202 passes for 3,140 yards (15.5 ypc) and 23 touchdowns…Gained 291 yards with two scores on 28 carries (10.4 ypc)…Returned 55 punts for 587 yards (10.7 ypc) and a touchdown…Added 800 yards on 31 kickoff returns (25.8 avg), as he also posted two tackles and completed one pass for 27 yards…NCAA Career-Record Results…Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, he ranks sixth for receiving yardage and 18th for receptions, as both figures tops all active Big Ten players…Also ranks 15th with 4,818 all-purpose yards and seventh for amount of punt returns, as his yards-per catch average is 15th and punt return average is 18th…Big Ten Conference Career-Record Results…Abbrederis ranks 11th in league history with his 202 receptions and finished eighth with 3,140 yards receiving…School Career-Record Results…Abbrederis (3,140 yards) joined Lee Evans (3,468 yards; 1999-2003) as the only Badgers to gain 3,000 yards receiving during a career…His 202 receptions tied the school record that was first set by Brandon Williams (2002-05), as they are the only two players at the school to crack the 200-reception mark…His 23 touchdown catches tied Tony Simmons (1994-97) for second on the school chart behind Lee Evans (27), as that trio are the only Badgers to ever record 20 touchdown catches…Ranks sixth in school history withj 55 punt returns and also for 587 punt return yards, as his average of 10.7 yards is fifth-best in school history…Ranks tenth in UW annals with 800 yards gained via kickoff returns…Set the school record with his 25.8-yard kickoff return average…Ranks sixth all-time with 4,818 all-purpose yards.
In the school record books, Abbrederis set the annual record with his 78 receptions in 2013, topping the old mark of 75, first set by Lee Evans in 2001 and matched by Travis Beckham in 2007…His 55 catches in 2011 rank eighth on the team list…With 1,081 yards receiving in 2013, he joins Lee Evans (1,545 in 2001 and 1,213 in 2003) and Brandon Williams (1,095 in 2005) as the only Badgers to gain 1,000 yards receiving in a season… His 933 receiving yards in 2011 rank sixth on the annual chart…His eight touchdown grabs in 2011 are fifth and seven scoring snatches in 2013 are seventh on the UW season list… His 315 yards gained on punt returns in 2011 is the eighth-best season total by a Badger and his average of 15.8 yards per punt return that year is second…His 28 kickoff returns in 2011 rank fifth and 689 kickoff return yards that season rank third on the Badgers annual record list…His 1,999 all-purpose yards in 2011 are sixth-best in school history.
Abbrederis caught 10 passes vs. Ohio State in 2013, the tenth-best game total by a Badger, while his 12 grabs vs. Penn State that year is second-best in school annals behind Matt Nyquist (13 vs. Iowa in 1995)…His 207 yards receiving in that Ohio State clash is fourth-best on the UW game chart…Holds the school record with eight kickoff returns vs. Oregon in 2012, as his 201 kickoff return yards in that Oregon clash established another Wisconsin record…His 346 all-purpose yards in the 2012 Oregon game is 11th-best in Big Ten Conference history and topped by only Ron Dayne (347 vs. Hawaii in 1996) on the school record chart.
Abbrederis earned All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors, as the team captain was also the recipient of the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation's most outstanding player that began his career as a walk-on…Started eleven games at split end, setting the school record with 78 receptions, ranking third in the league…Became just the third player to record 1,000 yards receiving (1,081) for the Badgers, as his seven touchdown catches placed seventh on the school record chart…Added 119 yards with two scores on just six carries (19.8 ypc) and had eleven punt returns for 94 yards (8.5 avg) to amass 1,294 all-purpose yards, an average of 99.54 yards per game…Caught five passes for 30 yards in Capital One Bowl vs. South Carolina and hauled in a career-high 12 catches for 135 yards vs. Penn State, the second-highest reception total ever by a UW player...Snared seven passes for 67 yards and a 2-yard score at Minnesota…Ran three times for 86 yards and scored his first two rushing touchdowns of his career, as he also returned two punts for 21 yards vs. Indiana… Made eight catches for 67 yards vs. Brigham Young and caught three passes for 30 yards with a 20-yard touchdown and ran once for 11 yards at Iowa…Made eight catches for 106 yards at Illinois and caught two passes for 74 yards with a 63-yard touchdown vs. Northwestern…Had ten receptions for a career-high 207 yards and a 36-yard touchdown vs. Ohio State, as it was just the fifth 200-yard receiving game in school history…Hauled in seven catches for 94 yards, rushed once for 16 yards and returned three punts for 25 yards vs. Purdue…Added six catches for 87 yards vs. Arizona State and caught eight balls for 62 yards and a 6-yard touchdown vs. Tennessee Tech...Recorded two catches for 122 yards and touchdowns of 65 and 57 yards vs. Massachusetts.
The consensus All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection started all year at split end, leading the team with 49 receptions, as he ranked third in the league with 837 yards receiving, the 12th-highest season total by a Badger…Ranked tenth in the country among players with at least 45 catches, averaging 17.1 yards per reception...Gained 83 yards on eight carries (10.4 ypc) and 111 yards on seventeen punt returns (6.5 avg)…Had three catches for 44 yards in the Rose Bowl vs. Stanford…Recorded two catches for 68 yards vs. Minnesota and had a 100-yard receiving game with 117 yards, seven catches and a touchdown vs. Illinois…Pulled in seven catches for 142 yards and a touchdown at Nebraska, earning UW Offensive Player of the Week honors...Named UW Offensive Player of the Week after recording a season-high 147 receiving yards and one touchdown on six catches vs. Texas-El Paso…Scored Wisconsin's first touchdown of the season on a 10-yard pass in the second quarter vs. Northern Iowa. He later caught a 53-yard pass for a score in the fourth quarter to record his second career two-touchdown game.
Having earned a scholarship prior to spring camp, Abbrederis emerged from fall drills as the team's starting flanker…Named All-American honorable mention as a punt returner by Sports Illustrated, he also received All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention as a receiver…Paced the team with 55 receptions, the eighth-best season total by a Badger, as his 933 receiving yards rank sixth and eight touchdown catches tied for fifth on the UW season-record chart…Gained 62 yards on eleven carries, as his punt return average of 15.8 yards is second-best in a season by a Badger, totaling 315 yards on 20 returns…Had 28 kickoff returns for a 24.6-yard average, as his 689 yards rank third on the Wisconsin annual record list…Tallied 1,999 all-purpose yards, the sixth-highest season total by a Badger…Ranked third in the country, averaging 15.8 yards per punt return…Had seven games with at least 150 all-purpose yards...his 346 all-purpose yards in the Rose Bowl vs. Oregon were one shy of Ron Dayne's school record, as he produced a career-high 119 receiving yards, school-record 201 kickoff return yards and 26 punt return yards in that game...Added 217 all-purpose yards in Big Ten Football Championship game vs. Michigan State, as he caught three passes for 65 and one touchdown, returned one punt for 11 yards and returned five kicks for 141 yards...Added seven receptions for 93 yards and a score vs. Penn State…Named UW's special teams player of the week after returning three kicks for 84 yards and two punts for 25 yards vs. Purdue, as he also caught two passes for 19 yards and a touchdown...Totaled 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six catches at Ohio State, as he also tallied 59 kickoff return yards...had six catches for 91 yards vs. Michigan State, along with four rushes for 33 yards and had 204 all-purpose yards...Named UW's co-special teams player of the week after returning a punt for a 60-yard touchdown vs. Indiana, as he also caught a team-high four passes for 63 yards and rushed once for three yards...Caught five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, rushed twice for 23 yards, returned one punt for 21 yards and one kick for 14 yards vs. Nebraska and was chosen as UW's offensive player of the week after catching five passes for 101 yards and one touchdown vs. South Dakota, as he also ran once for five yards, returned two punts for 42 yards and brought back one kick for 25 yards.
The walk-on started two of the thirteen games he played in, serving mostly behind Nick Toon at split end…Gained 111 yards on three kickoff returns (37.0 avg) and 67 yards on seven punt returns (9.6 avg)…Carried the ball three times for 27 yards and caught twenty passes for 289 yards (14.4 ypc) that included three touchdowns.
Abbrederis redshirted after joining the team as a walk-on quarterback, but was later converted to wide receiver…Named UW's offensive scout team player of the week for Wofford game.
2012 Season…Left the Oregon State game with a head injury and did not play vs. Utah State the following week…Left the Penn State contest after suffering an ankle sprain.
4.50 in the 40-yard dash…1.62 10-yard dash…2.65 20-yard dash…4.08 20-yard shuttle… 11.39 60-yard shuttle…6.80 three-cone drill…30 1/2-inch vertical jump…9'-9" broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds four times…31 3/8-inch arm length…9 5/8-inch hands…75-inch wingspan.