With former Wisconsin wide receiver Alex Erickson graduating and signing as an undrafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals this past spring, Jazz Peavy and Rob Wheelwright are taking over on the Badgers wide receiving core.
For our sixth player to watch for, we will look at Peavy, who will be one of the two starting wide receivers going into the 2016 season.
Peavy, a redshirt junior, graduated from Tremper High School in Kenosha, Wis. He was a three-star ESPN and Rivals recruit coming out of high school and was ranked the 177th wide receiver in the country and the #9 recruit in Wisconsin by ESPN. In his senior year of high school, Peavy earned first-team all-state, first-team all-conference and all-region as well as being recognized as the Tremper Trojan’s team MVP and captain. He finished his high school career with 115 catches for 1774 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Peavy verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison on June 17, 2012. He was redshirted his first year at Wisconsin. In 2014, he played in two games but made no receptions. Last season, Peavy played in all 13 games with three career starts. He finished the 2015 season with 20 receptions for 268 yards.
The Badgers passed the ball much more last year with running back Corey Clement being out almost the entire season with an injury and personal issues. Erickson totaled 77 receptions for 978 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wheelwright had 32 receptions for 416 yards and 4 touchdowns. With Clement returning this season as well as running back Dare Ogunbowale who ran for 819 yards and 7 touchdowns last season, it is not expected that the Badgers will throw the ball nearly as much as last season. That being said, with the arrival of a new starting quarterback in Bart Houston or Alex Hornibrook, the receiving duo of Wheelwright and Peavy, may have the opportunities to make big plays on offense.
The other two main wide receivers on the Badgers roster are senior Reggie Love and junior George Rushing, who excelled in the Badgers spring game with his two receptions for touchdowns from Hornibrook. It also would not surprise many to see freshman A.J. Taylor get right into the mix during his first season.
Peavy is the main guy to watch though, as Wheelwright made strides in 2015 before getting injured. Peavy will have to step up and fill the highly-targeted Erickson this season.
And remember, Jazz Peavy caught it.
Photo from University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletics.