The Wisconsin Badgers kick off the college football season tonight when they host Western Kentucky at Camp Randall Stadium (8 p.m. kickoff). It’s the first look at a Badger defense that will feature seven new starters from a year ago.
Among the seven newcomers are three new defensive backs. Cornerbacks Caesar Williams and Faion Hicks will be joined by safety Scott Nelson. All three are redshirt freshmen.
Redshirt sophomore Dontye Carriere-Williams, who started five games last season, but announced this week that he is leaving the team and will transfer to another school.
The Hilltoppers gained nearly 85% of their yards through the air last season, which means the Badgers young secondary will be tested. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonard will also likely use redshirt freshman Deron Harrell and freshman Donte Burton.
Leonard doesn’t know how his young defenders are going to respond in game situations. He’s about to find out tonight.
The Badgers carry a 40-game winning streak against non-conference opponents at Camp Randall Stadium into tonight’s game.
Wisconsin will also get a closer look at their depth at wide receiver. With Quintez Cephus suspended indefinitely and Danny Davis suspended for the first two games, Kendric Pryor and A.J. Taylor are handling the starting duties. Walk-ons Adam Krumholz and Jack Dunn along with freshman Taj Mustapha and Aron Cruickshanke are next in line for the Badgers.