DEFENSIVE BACKS DEPTH CHART
Projected starters | Ht. | Wt. | Yr. | Hometown
21 Caesar Williams; 6-0; 185; So.; Grand Prairie, Texas
29 Dontye Carriere-Williams; 5-10; 189; So.; Miami
20 Faion Hicks; 5-10; 184; Fr.; Miami
31 Madison Cone; 5-9; 176; So.; Kernersville, N.C.
8 Deron Harrell; 6-2; 182; Fr.; Denver, Colo.
4 Donte Burton; 5-10; 181; Fr.; Loganville, Ga.
5 Rachad Wildgoose; 5-11; 193; Fr.; Miramar, Fla.
11 Alexander Smith; 5-11; 181; Fr.; Culver City, Calif.
27 Christian Volpentesta; 5-9; 184; So.; Highland Park, Ill.
14 D’Cota Dixon (above); 5-10; 198; Sr.; Oak Hill, Fla.
9 Scott Nelson; 6-2; 202; Fr.; Detroit
2 Patrick Johnson; 5-11; 193; So.; Washington D.C.
3 Reggie Pearson; 5-10; 190; Fr.; Inkster, Mich.
25 Eric Burrell; 6-0; 191; So.; Severn, Md.
10 Seth Currens; 6-3; 206; So; Pickerington, Ohio
24 Travian Blaylock; 5-11; 183; Fr.; Humble, Texas
13 Evan Bondoc; 6-1; 199; Sr.;Madison
31 Tyler Mais; 6-1; 200; Fr.; Waunakee
19 John Torchio; 6-1; 197; Fr.; Lafayette, Calif.
*18 Collin Wilder; 5-10; 195; Jr.; Katy, Texas
*Out for season due to NCAA transfer rules
The Badgers must replace three starters in the secondary, and they’ll be forced to rely on young players to fill those open slots. Of the eligible defensive backs on UW’s roster, all but two — safeties D’Cota Dixon and Evan Bondoc — are freshmen or sophomores. Carriere-Williams earned valuable playing time as a redshirt freshman, but he took second-team reps during the final open week of camp after defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said he needed to give more consistent effort in practice. The cornerback depth chart is the most uncertain of any position heading into the Badgers’ first game week. While UW also doesn’t have a heap of experience at safety, Nelson impressed throughout the offseason. Johnson, Pearson and Burrell could also see the field.
Nelson shows why the coaching staff is high on his potential, and Carriere-Williams kicks himself into gear to become UW’s top corner. The group of Williams, Hicks, Cone and Harrell put in consistent performances throughout the season as the Badgers’ cornerbacks, considered to be a position of concern entering the year, turn into a surprisingly strong group.
Carriere-Williams doesn’t ever bounce back from whatever funk he fell into during fall camp, and the rest of the Badgers’ inexperienced cornerbacks aren’t truly ready for an every-down role. Injuries crop up for Dixon again, limiting UW’s only upperclassman in the back end and forcing the Badgers to dig into their depth at safety.
3 | UW cornerbacks only accounted for three interceptions last season, but the Badgers ranked tied for 12th nationally in fewest opponent passing plays of 20-plus yards.