To recap last season, only six “true” freshmen played, although three didn’t take the field in the opening game (of course, also keep in mind Wisconsin opened with LSU in 2016 and blew out Utah State this year), as well as 14 redshirt freshmen.
In addition to a host of “true” freshmen who never got in a game, 12 redshirt freshmen didn’t play — of those, five are no longer on Wisconsin’s roster.
In Paul Chryst’s first season as head coach, just four “true” freshmen played while 17 of 18 redshirt freshmen got playing time.
That brings us to 2017.
Five “true” freshmen saw action for Wisconsin vs. Utah State as well as 15 of 24 redshirt freshmen (not including players out of the season). Of those, Jonathan Taylor’s game stands out.
The freshman running back got off to an ignominious start — dropping a pass on his first chance at a touch. But he more than made up for it.
Taylor woke up the Wisconsin offense on the first play of the second half (his third rush overall), busting loose for 41 yards. Later, he had a great touchdown run in which after being bottled up at the line of scrimmage, he cut back right and outran everyone to the corner of the end zone.
Taylor would finish with 87 yards on nine carries with that one touchdown. But more than that, he excited Badgers fans with what he might have in store for the future.
Here’s the complete rundown from Game 1 vs. Utah State:
“TRUE” FRESHMEN Adam Bay, LS Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Jack Coan, QB Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Madison Cone, CB Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Danny Davis, WR
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Jonathan Taylor, RB Utah State: 9 rushes, 87 yards, TD
Have not played Michael Balistreri, DE; Tyler Beach, OL; Logan Bruss, OL; Ethan Cesarz, ILB; Jake Collinsworth, ILB; Sam DeLany, WR; Alex Fenton, OL; Jake Ferguson, TE; Izayah Green-May, OLB; Matt Hennigsen, DE; Faion Hicks, CB; Hunter Johnson, RB; Collin Larsh, K; Kayden Lyles, OL; Tyler Mais, S; Scott Nelson, S; Emmet Perry, WR; Josh Seltzner, OL; Blake Smithback, OL; Danny Vanden Boom, QB; Aaron Vopal, OL; Coy Wanner, TE