A little rest was all Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor needed to be back making highlight grabs for the University of Wisconsin football team.
The Badgers practiced at Camp Randall Stadium on Friday after a day off Thursday, and the two veteran wide receivers showed why they’re solidly the top two wideouts on the depth chart. Pryor shielded a cornerback away from the ball to haul in a catch during a modified team drill and later snagged one-handed a pass from redshirt sophomore Graham Mertz in the back of the end zone during a red-zone skelly session.
Pryor had to keep his eyes on the ball through the outstretched arms of senior cornerback Faion Hicks, who tried to slip under Pryor for an interception.
Davis had a one-handed catch during the modified team session, fighting through the contact of senior cornerback Caesar Williams. The referees officiating practice threw a flag on Williams, but Davis made the catch anyway. Davis later ran by a corner and a safety on a crossing route for a big gain.
Davis (five games) and Pryor (four games) missed more than half of the 2020 season, which prompted their returns to the Badgers. They’ve been mentoring the young receivers at the position while still performing well in their own rights.
“This is their last opportunity together as a group,” receivers coach Alvis Whitted said. “So I hope that they're looking at this and putting their best foot forward in everything and know that they have no limits. Everything is right there in front of them.”
Here are some other observations from UW’s practice Friday:
For the first time in practices open to reporters, the Badgers had a different first-team offensive line — Tanor Bortolini played left tackle and junior Cormac Sampson left guard with the first group. Logan Brown had been at tackle and senior Josh Seltzner was at guard.
Senior center Kayden Lyles, redshirt freshman right guard Jack Nelson and senior right tackle Logan Bruss all remained in their first-team spots.
Still just a week into training camp, associate head coach and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph likely is experimenting with different combinations. UW hasn’t yet practiced in full pads, so no final decisions have been made about linemen’s roles. But fully padded practices will start soon, and those positions may be up for grabs more than they once looked.
Senior left tackle Tyler Beach started training camp wearing a walking boot on his left foot, but he has been without it the past three practices reporters have seen. Beach was working with a trainer Friday, performing different form-running exercises. He was the expected starter at left tackle, so he’ll be in the mix for the role when healthy.
Lofy at safety
Redshirt freshman Max Lofy was the only defensive back brought into the Badgers’ 2020 recruiting class, but he hasn’t taken a snap for the UW defense yet.
He’s been working with the safety group during the first week of training camp despite being listed as a corner. UW’s safeties have stayed healthy thus far and junior Travian Blaylock returned in full from a left leg injury Friday.
UW defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, who coaches safeties, must see an official position change in Lofy’s future.
From the infirmary
Here’s a look at the Badgers who didn’t practice Friday. If an injury designation is not listed, it is because the player wasn’t included on UW’s status reports.
- CB Al Ashford (left arm)
- OL Tyler Beach (left leg)
- WR Stephan Bracey
- RB Loyal Crawford (head)
- ILB Tatum Grass (head)
- CB Deron Harrell (right leg)
- OLB Riley Nowakowski
- TE Jack Pugh
- WR Isaac Smith
- OLB Aaron Witt (right leg)
- K Jack Van Dyke (right leg)
Get to know the Wisconsin Badgers' 2022 football recruiting class
Myles Burkett became the Badgers’ first Class of 2022 recruit when he announced his decision in January.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Franklin is a three-star recruit per 247Sports and Rivals, and showed great mobility and arm strength in his junior season. He battled back from a knee injury as a sophomore to throw for 1,236 and 11 touchdowns and rush for 180 yards and a score in a pandemic-shortened season.
He’s the first in-state quarterback to earn a scholarship out of high school since 2011.
As his recruiting stock started to rise, the Badgers were able to secure a commitment from Fall Rivers’ Barrett Nelson in late June.
The offensive tackle was 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds after his junior season, and his quickness off the ball has made him a load on both the offensive and defensive lines. Nelson is a three-star recruit per 247Sports and a two-star on Rivals.
He had offers from Iowa State, Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue and others before choosing UW.
Nelson’s father, Todd, was a Badgers offensive lineman in the late 1980s, and his brother, Jack, is currently an offensive lineman for UW.
After wowing UW coaches at a pair of camps, Monroe tight end JT Seagreaves accepted a scholarship offer in late June.
Seagreaves is an intriguing prospect for the Badgers — at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, he has the physical frame to grow into an imposing tight end, and he possesses sprinter speeds. He’s averaged more than 21 yards per catch each of the past two seasons and was starting to gain more Power Five conference interested when he committed to UW.
Seagreaves is a three-star recruit per 247Sports and a two-star according to Rivals.
In multiple trips to UW’s campus in June, Cade Yacamelli was called “a football player” by UW coaches rather than locking him into a position. He earned a scholarship offer after an impressive camp workout and accepted it in late June.
The consensus three-star athlete was starting to earn more recruiting attention from Power Five schools when he accepted the Badgers’ offer. UW was the first Power Five offer for the 6-foot, 200-pounder. He’s played receiver, running back and defensive back in high school, but likely projects as a receiver or defensive back in college.
The Penn Trafford High School product has good quickness and change-of-direction that make him dangerous with the ball in his hands.
When A’Khoury Lyde accepted a UW scholarship offer in late June, he became the first player on the defensive side of the ball to commit in the 2022 class.
Lyde (5-foot-11, 170 pounds), a consensus three-star recruit, has strong ball skills and a willingness to hit that separates him from other cornerbacks.
The Wayne, New Jersey, native is the eighth-ranked player in his state, per Rivals.
The Badgers landed a tall, speedy receiver when Tommy McIntosh committed in late June.
The DeWitt, Michigan, native stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 200 pounds. He uses his body to shield off defenders at the point of the catch and does well catching the ball away from his body. His Hudl page lists a 4.47-second 40-yard dash time, and he has breakaway speed when he gets in the open field and can use his long strides.
A consensus three-star wide receiver chose the Badgers over offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
UW beefed up its defensive front by landing defensive tackle Curtis Neal.
Neal — a 6-foot-2, 310-pounder — had more than 25 scholarship offers, and reportedly was deciding between UW and Ohio State at the end of his recruiting process. Neal is a product of William Amos Hough High School in Cornelius, North Carolina, where the Badgers found receiver Devin Chandler in last year’s cycle.
Neal, with his size and strength, likely fits best as a nose tackle in the Badgers’ 3-4 scheme.
Jim Leonhard may have found another rangy, smart cornerback to add to his secondary in Avyonne Jones, who committed in to UW in late June.
Jones — who hails from Southlake, Texas — was on campus the weekend of June 18 for an official visit and had narrowed an extensive offer list to UW and California. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound defensive back was previously committed to Oklahoma State, but retracted that commitment in late May.
With good recovery speed and a good feel for getting his hands between a receiver’s at the point of the catch, the consensus three-star prospect is a good fit for what UW cornerbacks coach Hank Poteat said he wants from his position group.
The Badgers landed the top-ranked player in Wisconsin for the sixth consecutive recruiting class when Joe Brunner committed the last week of June.
Brunner — a 6-foot-6, 300-pound prospect from Milwaukee who attends Whitefish Bay High School — is a consensus four-star recruit and a top-10 offensive tackle in the nation.
He held at least 16 Power Five scholarship offers, including ones from a majority of the Big Ten Conference, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon and Tennessee.
VINNY ANTHONY II
Receiver Vinny Anthony II — a consensus three-star prospect from Louisville, Kentucky — joined UW's class on June 30.
Possessing a good burst of speed and long arms that extend his catch radius, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Anthony has a chance to play across the formation as a receiver.
Anthony chose UW over Cincinnati and Duke.
Austin Brown — who hails from Johnston City, Illinois, a small town outside of Carbondale — was considering offers from Boston College, Illinois, Michigan and Northwestern before choosing UW. The consensus three-star prospect had 21 known scholarship offers.
Brown committed to UW on the Fourth of July.
At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he has a good frame already and his high school film shows a willingness to lay big hits and attack blockers. He also plays quarterback for Johnston City.