It’s safe to say the Wisconsin football team has relied heavily on tight ends in their air attack, and it’s also safe to say that they’ve had good reasons to do so.
From 2006 to 2008, the Badgers had Travis Beckum who earned All-American honors on his way to becoming one of the most productive receivers in school history.
After Beckum broke his leg in the 2008 season, Garrett Graham took over and led the team in catches and touchdowns.
Graham had another stellar outing in 2009, leading the team in receiving touchdowns and coming in second in receptions and receiving yards.
However, leading the offensive charge alongside Graham was Lance Kendricks, who will now take over the position.
Kendricks is already facing high expectations coming out of spring practices after being named a second team All-American by Athlon Sports and the 2010 Lindy’s Football Preview.
If Kendricks can live up to the preseason expectations, he could be a vital part to the Badger offense that has QB Scott Tolzien, RB John Clay, and WR Nick Toon all returning for 2010.
Even though Graham and Toon may have gotten most of the attention, Kendricks worked under the radar by using his blocking ability to seal the edge for the Badger running back duo of Clay and Montee Ball.
The big break for Kendricks finally came during the Champs Sports Bowl when he had a career game after racking up seven receptions for 128 yards against Miami.
Kendricks’ momentum carried all the way from bowl season to the Badgers’ spring game, which resulted in six receptions for 63 yards.
If Tolzien goes into the season as the starting QB, Kendricks and Toon should be able to continue their success from last season and help the Badgers climb atop the Big 10.
But until then, Kendricks will hope to follow in the footsteps of the tight ends that he has been blessed with playing under during his time at UW.