Wisconsin Badgers Football: 2022 Defensive/Special Teams Depth Chart Overview

The 2022 football season will be here before you know it, but before that we have to go through winter conditioning, spring football and fall camp. That doesn’t mean we can’t start speculating what the depth chart will look like though! Belz, Owen and Tyler got together over a Google Doc and discussed their thoughts on how UW will line up next season.

Then we have defense and special teams. Here’s a link to last week’s offensive preview.

2022 Defensive/Special Teams Projected Depth Chart

Position Belgium owen Tyler
Position Belgium owen Tyler
OF Isaiah Mulles, James Thompson, Jr. Isaiah Mulles, James Thompson, Jr. Isaiah Mulles, James Thompson, Jr.
NT Keeanu Benton, Gio Paez/Curt Neal Keeanu Benton, Gio Paez Keeanu Benton, Gio Paez
OF Rodas Johnson, Isaac Townsend Rodas Johnson, Cade McDonald Rodas Johnson, Cade McDonald
OLB Nick Herbig, Spencer Lytle Nick Herbig, Darryl Peterson Nick Herbig, Spencer Lytle
HE B Jordan Turner, Jake Chaney Jordan Turner, Jake Chaney Jordan Turner, Maema Njongmeta
HE B Tate Grass, Maema Njongmeta Maema Njongmeta, Bryan Sanborn Jake Chaney, Tate Grass
OLB CJ Goetz, Aaron Witt Spencer Lytle, CJ Goetz CJ Goetz, Aaron Witt
BC Justin Clark, Alexander Smith Semar Melvin, Justin Clark Justin Clark, Dean Engram
FS John Torchio or Travian Blaylock John Torchio, Hunter Wohler John Torchio, Travian Blaylock
SS Hunter Wohler, Preston Zachman Travian Blaylock, Titus Toller Hunter Wohler, Titus Toller
BC Dean Engram Semar Melvin Alexander Smith, Dean Engram Alexander Smith, Semar Melvin
K Collin Larsh, Vito Calvaruso Collin Larsh, Vito Calvaruso Collin Larsh, Vito Calvaruso
P Andy Vujnovich Andy Vujnovich Andy Vujnovich
KR Stephan Bracey Stephan Bracey Stephan Bracey
PR Dean Engram Dean Engram Dean Engram
LS Peter Bowden Peter Bowden Peter Bowden

There will be a LOT of new faces in the defensive starting lineup. Who are you most looking forward to seeing get more shots?

Belz: Hunter Wohler. He saw playing time in all 13 games last season as a true freshman, and given his tremendous high school career that came as no surprise to anyone inside the state. Wohler is someone who should be in the mix for one of the starting safeties, and I think he has the potential to be an All-Big Ten type player at the end of his career.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – USA TODAY Sports

He’s seemingly always around the ball, and his speed/physical mix gives him a higher ceiling than most safety prospects Wisconsin traditionally gets.

Owen: I’ll be curious to see where Titus Toler fits into the security group. He’s missed this entire season with injury, but Toler was a big win as a freshman to a powerhouse program in California. Safety is a crowded position with Travian Blaylock, Hunter Wohler and John Torchio all returning, but Toler could be a factor this season with high safety.

Tyler: I’m really excited to see Jordan Turner at inside linebacker. I was really impressed with him coming out of high school and thought he could be a great player for Wisconsin. The problem for him was entering the field with Chenal and Sanborn in front of him. Now that they’re both gone, not only will he have a chance to be on the court, but he’ll have a chance to really step up and hopefully become one of the best players in this Wisconsin defense. next year.

Who will fill the linebacker role of the “unsung hero who ends up making multiple game-changing plays” this year, taking over from Noah Burks?

Belz: I think Tate Grass and/or CJ Goetz would make sense if you’re looking for unsung heroes who could end up contributing a ton next season. Grass could very well be one of the starting inside linebackers after joining the program as a former walk-on and doing both deep all season in 2021, while Goetz has been in both deep at outside linebacker. over the past two seasons. Neither have been too flashy so far, but I think they bring a consistency that the coaching staff appreciate.

There are a ton of young players with high potential in the ILB/OLB halls, but I think the upper classes like Grass and Goetz are players who could close the gap with the younger group next season if they are playing well this spring. Don’t sleep on Maema Njongmeta either, I think the battle between him, Jake Chaney, Grass and Jake Ratzlaff will be fun to watch.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Wisconsin

CJ Goetz (#98) should have a bigger role in defense this year.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Owen: CJ Goetz feels like the “guy who’s waited his turn and will make the most of his opportunity” that the guys from Wisconsin have had in this position for a while (Garret Dooley, Zach Baun, Noah Burks), but Belz has used it before, so let’s get weird and say Darryl Peterson. He played well in the bowling game and Peterson picked Wisconsin over Alabama, which tells me he might be ready to contribute sooner than expected.

Tyler: I think Nick Herbig will be “you” next year. I think he played some of his best football at the Las Vegas Bowl and I think he’s ready for a great season. He will get more attention from opposing attacking game plans, but I’m not sure that will really matter. The child always seems to be in the right place at the right time, which leads to this type of play.

Who will lead this defense in passes defended next year? There are a lot of new faces that see the field in the defensive backfield and not really a No. 1, a stop guy to avoid, so opposing QBs can throw the ball either side of the field.

Belz: I will go with Justin Clark. The transfer from Toledo brings a wealth of experience to the cornerback room, and I don’t think he will be transferred from somewhere with a set playing time to sit on the bench next season. Clark, Engram and Alexander Smith are probably the most likely cornerbacks to see the field next season, but I think Clark is a player that could surprise people next season. There’s a reason Hank Poteat brings him in. I don’t envision him as a superstar or anything, but I think he will be one of the best cornerbacks on the team in his final season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEPTEMBER 11 Eastern Michigan to Wisconsin

John Torchio is always in the right place on the pitch.
Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Owen: I don’t have strong feelings or an abundance of confidence right now in the cornerback room, so I’ll go with John Torchio – who ALWAYS seems to be in the right place and making things happen. Dean Engram will be on the court a lot in the slot, and Semar Melvin has shown flashes, but that defense seems to feature safeties to shine in spots, and Torchio has a knack for making plays when they’re there.

Tyler: I’ll go with Alexander Smith at cornerback. I liked what I saw of him and he will be one of two new turns to be run regularly. After that, it’s a bit of a dice game to see who will be the guy who will intervene in the other place. There are a lot of names, but I can’t sit here with any confidence in who the number one type of guy might be. Smith had a good amount of races last year and I think he has the skills to pick up the slack and be one of the top guys in this group looking to prove himself.

When compiling your depth charts, did you see anyone you think could be traded OUT due to playing time?

Belz: I think the transfer of Izayah Green-May helped ease the outside linebacker bottleneck a bit, but competitions between outside linebacker and inside linebacker could push someone out if they don’t like it. not its position after the spring. I don’t immediately see a name to worry about, but with COVID waivers and a ton of talented young players in these position rooms, you never know.

Owen: Linebackers rooms are so full, someone like Aaron Witt or Maema Njongmeta, if they get left behind (Bollers or Peterson for Witt, Sanborn for Njongmeta), I wouldn’t blame them if they were looking for pasture greener and more game time available, but obviously this is all speculative and I’m sure I’ll look like a bozo when these don’t materialize.

Tyler: My first thought was Travian Blaylock about security. He’s a kid who’s been on the pitch, but people always thought he should be around more for some reason. I’m sure he feels the same. Collin Wilder and Scott Nelson are out now, but John Torchio is a solid player and Hunter Wohler is definitely in the mix to be a starter next year. Someone in this security room is going to be the intruder. Maybe you can spin or maybe it works on its own, but there are only two spots for three solid players.

Will Arkansas transfer K Vito Calvaruso win the kicking job, as well as his job as kickoff specialist? You have to imagine that he was at least offered a chance to compete for the field goalscoring duties, or why a transfer?

Belz: He’ll have every chance to win it, but I could see Collin Larsh handling close-range field goals and Calvaruso throwing in longer attempts in addition to his kick-off duties. I thought Larsh kicked the ball well last season for the most part, so it will be an interesting battle to watch with Calvaruso coming on. Anyway, I think Calvaruso will be the name to know at the kicker beyond the 2022 season given that he has several years of eligibility left.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Purdue

Collin Larsh (No. 19) may have some competition for the kicking position this season.
Robert Goddin – USA TODAY Sports

Owen: Belz, again, took my answer, but this time I won’t offer an alternative, because frankly you can’t do it to me. So the.

Tyler: I have to give it a chance, definitely. Collin Larsh has been solid for most of the year, but you can definitely chase other players and create some competition there. If Calvaruso thinks he can hit him through the studs consistently then why not give him a chance. Shit, I don’t care who hits him as long as it’s okay. If Johnny Davis can pull it off consistently, make him part of the team. If Drew Hamm can do it consistently, let’s see if we can get that baby eligibility back!

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