Wisco Wednesday: How does the Wisconsin Offense Stack Up?

At which positions does Wisconsin have quality depth? Where are they thin? What are the biggest strengths? Where are there questions?

Who will play on offense for Wisconsin in 2023? A simple question with lots of different names counting toward the answer. As highlighted in the subtitle, there are 2 ways I like to look at a roster.

1st – Strengths and Weaknesses (question marks) among the starters.

2nd – How deep Wisconsin is in a position when the inevitable injury bug strikes.

This year is especially hard to evaluate in the offseason because of all the changes Luke Fickell has implemented on offense. The QB and WR rooms are heavily revamped. But, among the changes are some constants. Brealon Allan is back along with most of the receiving core. And as usual, there is plenty of experience on the OL.

2023 transfers will be underlined.

Running Back 

  • Major Strength
  • Poor Depth

Starter(s): Brealon Allen, Chez Mellusi

Depth: Cade Yacamelli

Brealon Allen isn’t Jonathan Taylor, but he could be the first RB drafted in 2024. He’s that fast, that strong, and that good. More realistically, he’s a top 4 back in the B1G and top 6 in all of college football. Wisconsin fans might see that as not good enough based on recent history, but he’s not alone. Mellusi is a great change of pace back who has a shiftiness that Allen lacks. He has had some injury issues but has been fantastic when on the field since he transferred from Clemson in 2021.

Coming out of spring ball, Yacamelli appears to have RB3 locked up. He hasn’t flashed enough for me to think he’ll be part of the offense though. I only expect to see him if Allen or Mellusi are banged up and need a break at the same time.


  • Likely Strength
  • Fantastic Depth

Starter: Tanner Mordecai

Depth: Braedyn LockeNick Evers, Myles Burkett

Step one to fixing the Badgers: bring in an entirely new QB room.

Mordecai is already being heralded as the best Wisconsin QB since Russell Wilson. And based on the competition, I have to agree. In the last 2 years at SMU, he had over 7,000 yards and 72 TDs with 22 INTs.  He is a 6th year senior with the necessary game experience to win games in the 4th quarter.

When it comes to depth, I would take all the names above over Graham Mertz. That’s how loaded the QB room is. Locke, a redshirt freshman, has the QB2 job right now. He looked better than everyone, even Mordecai, in the spring game. If there is an injury at QB, I wouldn’t flinch as a Badger fan. The next man up has me hopeful for more than just 2023.

Offensive Line

  • Major Strength (Especially at OT)
  • Great Depth overall, Center not as much

Starters (left to right): Jack Nelson, Tanor Bortolini, Jake Renfro, Micheal Furtney, Riley Mahlman

Key Depth: Nolan Rucci OT, Trey Wedig OT/OG, Joe Huber OC

The Wisconsin OL is always great, and that will continue in 2023. Four out of five starters have 3+ years of experience each. Transfer Center, Renfro, and returning LT, Jack Nelson, are highlights, but all these guys could end up on NFL rosters.

The OT depth is insane. Nolan Rucci is a 5* athlete and expected 1st round pick (eventually), and he can’t crack the starting rotation. Wedig has starting experience filling in for injured players so he’s a simple plug-and-play. Huber is solid, and Bortolini has taken center snaps, but both are a definite downgrade from Renfro. That’s a testament to Renfro, not a knock on those guys.

The starting 5 is still in flux because of the talent behind them. Don’t worry much about OL at Wisconsin.

Tight End

  • Good Starter
  • Unproven Depth

Starter: Clay Cundiff

Depth: Jack Pugh, Hayden Rucci, JT Seagreaves, Jack Eschenbach

Big Play Clay. That’s what the team called Clay Cundiff last year. You may not remember that because of the season ending injury he had in week 4 against Ohio State. He also had a season ending injury before the 2021 season even got underway. He’s a good receiving TE when he’s out there, he’s just never out there.

Throw a dart at the depth names above, because I have no idea. There’s a combination of supposedly good blockers and supposedly good pass catchers. JT Seagreaves is the interesting one to me because he’s only a redshirt sophomore, and he’s 6’6” 225 lbs. 

Wide Receiver

  • High Upside Starters
  • Great Depth… for Wisconsin

Starters: CJ Williams, Chimere Dike, Will Pauling (slot)

Depth: Kiontez Lewis, Bryson Green, Skyler Bell (slot)

More Depth: Tommy McIntosh, Quincy Burroughs

QB isn’t the only transfer heavy position.

Two of the Three current starters, Williams and Pauling, are transfers. Williams was a 5* recruit according to some services, he just never saw the field as a freshman at USC in 2022. Pauling was a top WR at Cincinnati and opted to follow Fickell to Madison. Green, WR1 at Oklahoma State in 2022, is expected to challenge Dike for that 3rd spot during the season. Green was set back because he missed spring ball with an injury. 

This is a revamped Wisconsin receiving core, but they also have all their best pieces from last year returning. Skyler Bell actually has the WR4 spot, being the additional guy for 4 wideout sets. Dike was WR1 last year, now he’s fighting to stay above WR5. The guys Fickell and Longo brought in have made the WR room a cut-throat competition for playing time.

Expect the top 6 WRs to get snaps, that’s how many guys Longo wants to rotate in his uptempo offense.

Games aren’t played on paper

Badger fans expect the offense to be good. It has to be. Too much talent has come to Madison to run the new Dairy Air Raid being implemented. But, when injuries happen (they always happen) will the guys behind the starters step up and keep to offense humming along? I would say yes, for the most part. Hopefully, some of the depth guys, and guys not even listed here, can surprise Badger fans this season.


Want more Walk On Fan? 

Check out last week’s Wisco Wednesday where we preview Wisconsin’s 2023 opponents.

This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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