Davis finally becoming integral part of Badgers passing attack

Danny Davis was expected to be part of a high-powered Wisconsin offense this season. Neither of those things have gone as planned.

Davis was suspended the first two games of the season and after catching four passes for 40 yards in his debut in a loss to BYU, he corralled just five receptions over the next three games.

Wisconsin’s passing offense has sagged as well, with just two games of over 200 yards through the air this season (the Badgers had six in 2017, including the final two games).

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While the Badgers likely will remain a running team behind Jonathan Taylor no matter who is at quarterback, at least Davis is starting to become a bigger part of the passing offense.

He had four catches against Illinois for 48 yards, five for 55 at Northwestern and this past Saturday nabbed a career-high six catches for 60 yards — his third-highest receiving yards in a game — with a touchdown.

Quite simply, Davis is being targeted more often and he appears to have a connection with Jack Coan.

While he was targeted seven times against BYU, since that game Alex Hornibrook threw his way just three times against Iowa, four vs. Michigan and five against Nebraska. Davis was, however, targeted four times in the first half against Rutgers before Hornibrook, who had 16 pass attempts, had to leave due to an injury.

In the second half, Davis was targeted three times by Jack Coan — all catches. Coan only threw seven passes.

Against Northwestern, Coan targeted Davis nine times. Of Coan’s 38 targets thus far, 11 have been to Davis.

If Coan gets the call against Penn State (or at any other time this season), expect Davis to be heavily involved when the quarterback drops back to pass.

Here’s the complete rundown of the young Badgers after the first nine games. Four “true” freshmen have surpassed four games and thus can’t be redshirted; three have played in four games:

“TRUE” FRESHMEN

Travian Blaylock, CB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: FR
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: No tackles, 1 FR

 

Donte Burton, CB
Western Kentucky: 1 tackle (solo)
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: 1 tackle (solo)
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: 2 tackles (2 solo)

 

John Chenal, FB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Aron Cruickshank, WR
Western Kentucky: 1 kick return, 30 yards
New Mexico: 1 rush, 11 yards; 2 kick returns, 32 yards
BYU: 4 kick returns, 84 yards
Iowa: 2 kick returns, 22 yards
Nebraska: 1 rush, 1 yard; 3 kick returns, 90 yards
Michigan: 3 kick returns, 47 yards
Illinois: 1 rush, 23 yards, TD; 1 kick return, 14 yards
Northwestern: 3 kick returns, 43 yards
Rutgers: 1 rush, 3 yards; 1 kick return, 17 yards
Season totals: 4 rushes, 38 yards, TD; 20 kick returns, 399 yards (19.9 avg.)

 

Isaac Guerendo, WR
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

 

Taj Mustapha, WR
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: 1 catch, 3 yards, TD
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals:  1 catch, 3 yards, TD

 

Reggie Pearson, S
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Started, 5 tackles (2 solo), TFL, FF
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: 5 tackles (2 solo), TFL, FF

 

Cormac Sampson, TE
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

 

Jack Sanborn, ILB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: 1 tackle (solo)
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: 1 tackle (solo)
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: 4 tackles (2 solo), FF
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 6 tackles (4 solo), FF

 

Brady Schipper, WR
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Alexander Smith, CB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: 1 tackle (solo), PBU
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo), PBU

 

Bryson Williams, NT
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: 1 tackle (solo)
Iowa: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Northwestern: QBH
Rutgers: Started, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 5 tackles (3 solo), QBH

 

Rachad Wildgoose, CB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: 2 tackles (2 solo)
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: 2 tackles (2 solo)
Michigan: Started, 5 tackles (2 solo), PBU
Illinois: Started, 2 tackles (1 solo), PBU
Northwestern: Started, 7 tackles (5 solo)
Rutgers: Started, 1 tackle (solo), PBU
Season totals: 12 tackles (8 solo), 3 PBU

 

Have not played
A.J. Abbott, WR; Nate Carter, QB; Boyd Dietzen, DE; Jack Eschenbach, TE; Jaylan Franklin, OLB; Michael Furtney, OL; C.J. Goetz, DE; Mike Gregoire, WR; Jacob Heyroth, ILB; Andrew Lyons, OL; Isaiah Mullens, DE; Conor Schlichting, P; Marty Strey, OLB; Jack Torchio, S; Nakia Watson, RB; Chase Wolf, QB

Out for season
Mason Platter, OLB

 

REDSHIRT FRESHMEN

Tyler Beach, OL
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Logan Bruss, OL/TE
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Started, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Jake Ferguson, TE
Western Kentucky: 4 catches, 43 yards
New Mexico: 1 catch, 4 yards
BYU: 3 catches, 61 yards
Iowa: 4 catches, 58 yards, TD
Nebraska: 4 catches, 47 yards, TD
Michigan: 2 catches, 46 yards
Illinois: Started, 3 catches, 62 yards, TD
Northwestern: 2 catches, 7 yards
Rutgers: 2 catches, 33 yards
Season totals: 25 catches, 361 yards, 3 TD

 

Cade Green, WR
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

 

Izayah Green-May, OLB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: 1 tackle
Season totals: 1 tackle

 

Deron Harrell, CB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Started, 3 tackles (3 solo)
Nebraska: Started, 2 tackles
Michigan: Started, 3 tackles, (2 solo)
Illinois: Started, PBU
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: 8 tackles (5 solo), PBU

 

Matt Hennigsen, DE
Western Kentucky: Started, 4 tackles (1 solo)
New Mexico: Started, 2 tackles (1 solo), TFL
BYU: 2 tackles, QBH
Iowa: 2 tackles
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Started, 6 tackles (3 solo)
Illinois: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo), sack, TFL, QBH
Northwestern: Started, 2 tackles
Rutgers: 3 tackles, QBH
Season totals: 17 tackles (4 solo), sack, 2 TFL, 3 QBH

 

Faion Hicks, CB
Western Kentucky: Started, 3 tackles (2 solo), INT
New Mexico: Started, 1 tackle, PBU
BYU: Started, 5 tackles (3 solo), PBU
Iowa: Started, 4 tackles (4 solo), TFL
Nebraska: Started, 2 tackles
Michigan: 1 tackle (solo)
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo)
Rutgers: Started, PBU
Season totals: 18 tackles (12 solo), 3 PBU, INT, TFL

 

Kayden Lyles, DL
Western Kentucky: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo)
New Mexico: Started, 2 tackles (1 solo), FR
BYU: Started, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Started, 1 tackle (solo)
Nebraska: Started, 1 tackle
Michigan: Started, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: 1 tackle
Season totals: 7 tackles (4 solo), FR

 

Scott Nelson, S
Western Kentucky: Started, 7 tackles (5 solo), 2 PBU
New Mexico: Started, 4 tackles (2 solo), INT
BYU: Started, 5 tackles (1 solo) 1.5 TFL, PBU
Iowa: Started, 4 tackles (1 solo), PBU
Nebraska: Started, 5 tackles (3 solo), FF, PBU
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Season totals: 25 tackles (12 solo), 5 PBU, 1.5 TFL, INT, FF

 

Josh Seltzner, OL
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Danny Vanden Boom, QB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: 1-for-1 passing, 3 yards, TD
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1-for-1 passing, 3 yards, TD

 

Aaron Vopal, DE
Western Kentucky: 1 tackle (solo)
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo)


Have not played
Michael Balistreri, DE; Ethan Cesarz, ILB; Jake Collinsworth, FB; Alex Fenton, OL; Hunter Johnson, RB; Collin Larsh, K; Tyler Mais, S; Emmet Perry, WR; Coy Wanner, TE

Out for season
Blake Smithback, OL

Badgers all-time databases

 

“TRUE” SOPHOMORES

Adam Bay, LS
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Jack Coan, QB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Started, 20-for-31 passing, 158 yards, TD
Rutgers: 5-for-7 passing, 92 yards, TD
Season totals: 25-for-38 passing, 250 yards, 2 TD

 

Madison Cone, CB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: 1 tackle (solo), INT, PBU
BYU: 3 tackles (3 solo)
Iowa: 1 tackle (solo)
Nebraska: 5 tackles (5 solo)
Michigan: 1 tackle
Illinois: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo), INT
Rutgers: 4 tackles, .5 TFL
Season totals: 17 tackles (12 solo), .5 TFL, PBU, 2 INT

 

Danny Davis III, WR
Western Kentucky: Did not play (suspended)
New Mexico: Did not play (suspended)
BYU: 4 catches, 40 yards
Iowa: 1 catch, 12 yards, TD
Nebraska: 3 catches, 38 yards
Michigan: 1 catch, 12 yards
Illinois: 4 catches, 48 yards
Northwestern: Started, 5 catches, 55 yards
Rutgers: Started, 6 catches, 60 yards, TD; 1 kick return, -2 yards
Season totals: 24 catches, 265 yards, 2 TD; 1 kick return, -2 yards

 

Jonathan Taylor, RB
Western Kentucky: Started, 18 rush, 145 yards, 2 TD
New Mexico: Started, 33 rush, 253 yards, 3 TD
BYU: Started, 26 rush, 117 yards; 3 catches, 14 yards
Iowa: Started, 25 rush, 113 yards; 2 catches, 6 yards
Nebraska: Started, 24 rush, 221 yards, 3 TD
Michigan: Started, 17 rush, 101 yards, 0 TD
Illinois: Started, 27 rush, 159 yards; 1 catch, 2 yards
Northwestern: Started, 11 rush, 46 yards
Rutgers: Started, 27 rush, 208 yards, 3 TD; 1 catch, 30 yards
Season totals: 208 rush, 1,363 yards, 11 TD; 7 catches, 52 yards

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