Chenal brothers stood out in Wisconsin’s opening win

We’re back for another year of tracking how the younger players on the Wisconsin Badgers are faring. By young, we’re talking anyone in their first two years of being at the school, i.e. freshmen and “true” sophomores.

This season, Wisconsin has 56 such players: 27 freshmen, 24 redshirt freshmen and five sophomores.

Since 2014, the Badgers have used an average of 21.8 freshman (true and redshirt) a season, although that number was skewed a bit last year with the new rule which allowed freshmen to play up to four games and retain eligibility.

YEAR FR RS-FR
2014 9 11
2015 4 17
2016 6 14
2017 5 17
2018 13 13

In last week’s opener at South Florida, a 49-0 romp, head coach Paul Chryst sent out just three true freshmen, while half the redshirt freshmen saw action and all five true sophomores played. The three true freshmen all played on defense (much to the chagrin of some fans who had hoped to see highly touted quarterback Graham Mertz) and they didn’t get their time until the second half.

Two players who stood out in the opener share the last name: Chenal.

Sophomore John Chenal, taking over as Wisconsin’s starting fullback, helped pave the way for Jonathan Taylor to gain 135 yards on just 16 carries (8.4 average), added a 12-yard run and a catch of his own, plus forced a fumble on a kick return, although USF recovered.

Chenal’s younger brother, Leo, got into the game in the second half and recorded five tackles, three of which were solo. Of those five stops, two were for no gain and another netted South Florida just one yard.

Needless to say, we think you’ll be hearing a lot more from these brothers over the next few years.

Here’s the complete rundown of the young Badgers after the opening game:

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“TRUE” FRESHMEN
Keeanu Benton, NT
South Florida: 2 tackles (solo), TFL

 

Leo Chenal, LB
South Florida: 5 tackles (3 solo)

 

Semar Melvin, CB
South Florida: 1 tackle (solo)

 

Have not played
Peter Bowden, LS; Stephan Bracey, WR; Logan Brown, OL; Dante Caputo, S; Clay Cundiff, TE; Julius Davis, RB; Jordan DiBenedetto, WR; Quan Easterling, FB; Dean Engram, CB; Tatum Grass, LB; Rodas Johnson, DE; Jackson Kollath, LB; Spencer Lytle, LB; Graham Metz, QB; Cooper Nelson, QR; Maema Njongmeta, LB; Logan O’Brien, OL; Gio Paez, NT; Cam Phillips, WR; Hayden Rucci, TE; Joe Tippmann, OL; Titus Toler, LB; Blake Wilcox, K; James Williams, CB.

 

REDSHIRT FRESHMEN
Donte Burton, CB
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

Boyd Dietzen, DE
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

Jack Eschenbach, TE
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

Jaylan Franklin, OLB
South Florida: 1 tackle (solo), sack, TFL

 

Michael Furtney, OL
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

C.J. Goetz, DE
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

Isaiah Mullens, DE
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

Reggie Pearson, S
South Florida: Started, 1 tackle (solo), FF

 

Alexander Smith, CB
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

Jack Torchio, S
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic

 

Nakia Watson, RB
South Florida: 14 rush, 80 yards, TD

 

Chase Wolf, QB
South Florida: Played, did not record a statistic


Have not played
A.J. Abbott, WR; Travian Blaylock, CB; Nate Carter, QB; Mike Gregoire, WR; Isaac Guerendo, RB; Jacob Heyroth, ILB; Andrew Lyons, OL; Taj Mustapha, WR; Cormac Sampson, OL; Brady Schipper, OL; Conor Schlichting, P; Marty Strey, OLB.

 

“TRUE” SOPHOMORES

John Chenal, FB
South Florida: 1 rush, 2 yards; 1 catch, 12 yards; 1 tackle (solo), FF

 

Aron Cruickshank, WR
South Florida: 1 kick return, 23 yards

 

Jack Sanborn, LB
South Florida: 5 tackles (2 solo)

 

Rachad Wildgoose, CB
South Florida: 2 tackles (solo)

 

Bryson Williams, NT
South Florida: 1 tackle (solo)

 

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), 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