Badgers WR Cephus breaking out in sophomore year

The Wisconsin Badgers have had some unlikely leading receivers over the years — look no further than from 2011-15 when a former walk-on led the team in yards each season. Might as well add Quintez Cephus to the group.

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As many Badgers fans know, Cephus had a basketball scholarship to Furman and was not highly recruited in football — until Wisconsin came along. The Badgers offered, Cephus accepted and then, surprise!, more offers from big schools were made. But it was too late.

Cephus played in every game last year as a “true” freshman but caught only four passes, and never more than one in any contest. Fast forward to this year, and Cephus has four straight games in which he has four or more receptions, including five this past Saturday against Purdue for a career-high 100 yards. It was just the seventh time in Badgers history a player had a 100-yard receiving game vs. the Boilermakers and the first since Chris Chambers in 2000.

Against Purdue, Cephus also reeled in fifth touchdown reception, tying him for 25th in the nation in that department. No Wisconsin player has had as many receiving TDs since 2013 (Jared Abbrederis, 7). Jazz Peavy had five last season in 14 games.

Cephus quickly has become one of the favorite targets of Alex Hornibrook, leading the team in targets with 29 (tight end Troy Fumagalli, who missed one game and had no targets in the Purdue contest has 27). He also unsurprisingly leads the team in receptions with 23, five more than Fumagalli. No other player on the team has more than seven catches.

If Cephus can keep up his pace and Wisconsin plays in 14 games this year — which seems likely — he’d finish with 53 receptions and 935 yards, which would be the most receiving yards ever by a Badgers sophomore.

In addition, Cephus, who is from Georgia, would be the first Wisconsin receiver who wasn’t from the state to post 50 or more receptions in a season since Brandon Williams in 2006.

Here’s the complete rundown of the young Badgers from the first six games of the season:

Badgers All-Time Databases

“TRUE” FRESHMEN
Adam Bay, LS
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Jack Coan, QB
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: 1 for 1 passing, 6 yards
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: 1 for 1 passing, 6 yards

 

Madison Cone, CB
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Danny Davis, WR
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Started, 1 catch, 35 yards; 1 rush, 1 yard
BYU: 2 catches, 67 yards
Northwestern: 3 catches, 50 yards, TD
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: 1 catch, 8 yards; 1 rush, 3 yards; 1 kick return, 23 yards
Season totals: 7 catches, 160 yards, TD; 2 rushes, 4 yards; 1 kick return, 23 yards

Jonathan Taylor, RB
Utah State: 9 rushes, 87 yards, TD
Florida Atlantic: Started, 26 rushes, 223 yards, 3 TDs
BYU: Started, 18 rushes, 128 yards, TD
Northwestern: Started, 19 rushes, 80 yards, 2 TDs
Nebraska: Started, 25 rushes, 249 yards, 2 TDs
Purdue: Started, 30 rushes, 219 yards, TD; 1 catch, 17 yards
Season totals: 127 rushes, 986 yards, 10 TDs; 1 catch, 17 yards

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

 

REDSHIRT FRESHMEN
Christian Bell, OLB
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo)
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: 1 tackle (solo), 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 FF
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: 2 tackles (2 solo), sack, TFL, FF

Luke Benzschawel, TE
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Tyler Biadasz, C
Utah State: Started, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Started, did not record a statistic
BYU: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Started, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Started, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Started, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Noah Burks, OLB
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo), 1 QBH
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo), QBH

Eric Burrell, S
Utah State: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 2 tackles (1 solo)

Dontye Carriere-Williams, CB
Utah State: 5 tackles (2 solo)
Florida Atlantic: 1 tackle (solo), 1 PBU
BYU: 8 tackles (6 solo), INT
Northwestern: 3 tackles (3 solo)
Nebraska: 1 tackle (solo), 1 PBU
Purdue: Started, 1 tackle, 2 PBU
Season totals: 19 tackles (13 solo), INT, 4 PBU

Seth Currens, S
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: 1 tackle
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1 tackle

Jack Dunn, WR
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Garrett Groshek, RB
Utah State: 2 rushes, 29 yards, TD; 1 tackle (solo)
Florida Atlantic: 5 rushes, 10 yards; 1 catch, 6 yards; 1 tackle
BYU: 9 carries, 43 yards; 1 tackle
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: 1 rush, 7 yards
Purdue: 2 rushes, 32 yards
Season totals: 19 rushes, 121 yards, TD; 1 catch, 6 yards; 3 tackles (1 solo)

Patrick Kasl, OL
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Isaiahh Loudermilk, DE
Utah State: 3 tackles (2 solo), 1 sack, 1 TFL
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Northwestern: 1 tackle, .5 sacks, .5 TFL
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 6 tackles (3 solo), 1.5 sacks, 1.5 TFL

Mike Maskalunas, ILB
Utah State: 1 tackle, 1 FR
Florida Atlantic: 1 tackle (solo)
BYU: 2 tackles (1 solo), 1 TFL
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: 1 tackle (solo)
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 5 tackles (3 solo), TFL

Keldrick Preston, DE
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo), 1 QBH
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Season stats: 1 tackle (solo), QBH

Kendrick Pryor, WR
Utah State: Did not play
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Purdue: 1 catch, 20 yards
Season totals: 1 catch, 20 yards

Cole Van Lanen, OL
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Caesar Williams, CB
Utah State: 1 tackle (solo)
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo)


Have not played
Josh Bernhagen, LS; Cade Green, WR; Deron Harrell, WR; Adam Krumholz, WR; Gabe Lloyd, TE; Kare Lyles, QB; Hegeman Tiedt, OLB; Cristian Volpentesta, CB

Injured, out for season
Sam Brodner, RB; Mason Stokke, ILB

 

“TRUE” SOPHOMORES
Quintez Cephus, WR
Utah State: Started; 3 catches, 31 yards, TD
Florida Atlantic: 2 catches, 47 yards
BYU: Started, 5 catches, 54 yards, 2 TDs
Northwestern: 4 catches, 99 yards; 1 rush, -3 yards
Nebraska: Started, 4 catches, 68 yards, TD
Purdue: 5 catches, 100 yards, TD
Season totals: 23 catches, 401 yards, 5 TDs; 1 rush, -3 yards

David Edwards, RT
Utah State: Started, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Started, did not record a statistic
BYU: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Started, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Started, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Started, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Patrick Johnson, S
Utah State: Played, did not record a statistic
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Did not play
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Anthony Lotti, P
Utah State: 3 punts, 129 yards (43.0 average)
Florida Atlantic: 5 punts, 191 yards (38.2 average)
BYU: 2 punts, 93 yards (46.5 average)
Northwestern: 6 punts, 245 yards (40.8 average)
Nebraska: 4 punts, 169 yards (42.2 average)
Purdue: 1 punt, 44 yards (44.0 average)
Season totals: 21 punts, 871 yards (41.5 average)

Garrett Rand, DE
Utah State: 1 QBH
Florida Atlantic: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: 1 PBU
Northwestern: 1 tackle
Nebraska: 1 QBH
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1 tackle, 2 QBH, PBU

Bradrick Shaw, RB
Utah State: Started; 18 rushes, 84 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 10 yards
Florida Atlantic: Did not play
BYU: 4 carries, 19 yards
Northwestern: 9 rushes, 34 yards
Nebraska: 12 rushes, 43 yards, TD
Purdue: 12 rushes, 41 yards; 2 catches, 11 yards
Season totals: 55 rushes, 221 yards, 2 TDs; 3 catches, 21 yards

A.J. Taylor, WR
Utah State: 3 catches, 38 yards; 2 kick returns, 46 yards
Florida Atlantic: 1 kick return, 21 yards
BYU: 3 catches, 34 yards, TD; 2 kick returns, 65 yards
Northwestern: 1 catch, 33 yards; 1 kick return, 18 yards
Nebraska: 1 catch, 5 yards; 1 kick return, 25 yards
Purdue: 1 catch, 17 yards; 2 rushes, 5 yards
Season totals: 9 catches, 127 yards, 1 TD; 2 rushes, 5 yards; 7 kick returns, 175 yards (25.0 average)

Have not played
Griffin Grady, ILB

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow, Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns