Wisconsin's Options at Quarterback in 2012
Wisconsin is approaching the 2012 season with several questions. The two biggest concerns for the two-time defending Big Ten champions is the large turnover on the coaching staff and Russell Wilson's graduation at quarterback.
Because of the media attention Russell Wilson brought to Madison over the course of the season, his departure has many wondering who will be the Badgers' next signal-caller? Whoever it may be does not have to be Wilson, but will be asked to limit mistakes and let the talented backfield take charge.
Here is a breakdown of the potential candidates.
Curt Phillips, Senior (RS)
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Curt Phillips has had an up-and-down career at Wisconsin. He graduated high school in 2008 and was regarded as a 4-star recruit by Rivals.
Once in Madison, Phillips had high expectations and even saw some extensive playing time in 2009 as a redshirt freshman.
Unfortunately for Phillips, ACL tears in consecutive seasons has really hampered his development, and the 6'3", 225-lb. quarterback from Tennessee is hoping he stays healthy enough to challenge for the starting QB role.
It will be an uphill climb for Phillips, though. He has a questionable injury-history and has not seen any game action since 2009.
Jon Budmayr, Junior (RS)
Jon Budmayr was the presumed starter for Wisconsin last season until Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin.
Following a brief battle for the starting position at quarterback, Budmayr was sidelined for the season as he experienced a serious arm injury that threatened his career.
Budmayr was a highly regarded recruit in high school, as Rivals rated him the 17th-ranked quarterback in the country. It will be interesting to see how things pan out for him given the extent of his arm injury.
Joe Brennan, Sophomore (RS)
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Joe Brennan served as Russell's Wilson's backup in 2011. Brennan did not see significant playing time and finished the season with just 15 attempts, completing six and throwing an interception.
The 6'3", 205-lb. signal-caller from New Jersey came to Madison and was known for being a cerebral quarterback who did not make mistakes.
Although Brennan was a backup, he really struggled with accuracy on intermediate routes.
Joel Stave, Sophomore
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Joel Stave was a lightly recruited quarterback prospect out of Greenfield, Wisc. He was dubbed just 2-stars by Scout and Rivals, but has become a popular pick as a possible replacement for Russell Wilson.
Stave possesses excellent size at 6'5" and 220 lbs. As a freshman in 2011, Stave was a third-string quarterback who did not see any time on the field.
Those faithful to the Badger program are eager to see the young signal-caller in the spring game.
Bart Houston, Freshman
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Bart Houston is Wisconsin's prized recruit in the 2012 class. Houston hails from Concord, Calif., where he played for traditional power De La Salle.
Scout.com speaks highly of the incoming freshman, as they mention he has the "it factor" that college coaches want in their quarterback. There are some around the Madison area who would like to see Houston start from Day one if he shows enough promise.
It is always risky to start a freshman quarterback, and with a wealth of talent still on the offensive side of the ball, Bret Bielema may want to give the starting nod to someone with a tad more experience.