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Wisconsin ended up having one of its most exciting freshmen in years with the emergence of running back Braelon Allen, who topped 1,110 rushing yards despite basically playing in eight games (and having 20+ carries in only three of those).

However, that clearly wasn’t the plan at the outside. Allen began the year as the No. 5 tailback on the depth chart and didn’t see his first real action until five games into the season.

In fact, the intention of head coach Paul Chryst seems pretty clear: He didn’t expect to have any freshman make a true impact in 2021.

While 10 freshmen overall played this season, only three saw significant playing time: Allen, who began the year on special teams, linebacker Jake Chaney and safety Hunter Wohler. Chaney played in eight games and only on special teams. Wohler appeared in all 12 games and did get in on 66 snaps on defense – the most of any true freshman other than Allen; next up was linebacker Darryl Peterson, who had 18 – all against Rutgers, the only game he played.

This might seem surprising since the Badgers were recognized as having one of the best recruiting classes of 2021. Rivals ranked Wisconsin No. 14 in the nation, 247 Sports No. 15 and ESPN No. 20.

But, for the most part, it’s been Chryst’s m.o. since taking over as Wisconsin head coach – he simply does not give freshmen a lot of playing time, especially early in a season.

In 2015, linebacker Chris Orr did play Day 1. Alec Ingold had a role with the team but he didn’t play until the fourth game.

In 2016, Anthony Lotti eventually was the team’s punter but he didn’t play in the season opener.

In 2017, Adam Bay was the team’s long snapper from the start and Jonathan Taylor carved out a role rather quickly. Danny Davis also had 21 catches but none in the opener.

In 2018, Aron Cruickshank was the team’s kick returner from the beginning. Also, cornerback Rachad Wildgoose emerged as a starter but didn’t play in three of the first four games.

In 2019, defensive tackle Keeanu Benton started six of 13 games and Leo Chenal had a role (recording 20 tackles) but didn’t start.

Last season was a tough one for many reasons with injuries and COVID-19, which might have expediated some players’ roles, but linebacker Nick Herbig did start every game and Jack Van Dyke served as the kickoff specialist. In addition, running back Jalen Berger had a 15-carry role – but didn’t play in the opener – and wide receiver Chimere Dike started the second game.

That’s not a lot of freshmen impact players – and most were on defense or special teams.

Keep that in mind in 2022 when you think there might be some studs in Wisconsin’s recruiting class. That might be true, but more than likely you’ll have to wait a while to find out.

Here’s the complete rundown of the young Badgers with the completion of the regular season:

"TRUE" FRESHMEN
Jackson Acker, RB

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: 3 rush, 24 yards, TD
Northwestern: 3 rush, 10 yards
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 6 rush, 34 yards, TD

Braelon Allen, RB

Penn State: 1 tackle (solo)
Eastern Michigan: 7 rush, 30 yards, TD
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: 5 rush, 19 yards
Illinois: 18 rush, 131 yards, TD
Army: 16 rush, 108 yards, TD
Purdue: 12 rush, 140 yards, 2 TD; 1 rec., 9 yards
Iowa: 20 rush, 104 yards
Rutgers: 15 rush, 129 yards, TD
Northwestern: Started, 25 rush, 173 yards, 3 TD; 1 rec., 16 yards
Nebraska: Started, 22 rush, 228 yards, 3 TD
Minnesota: Started, 17 rush, 47 yards; 3 rec., 12 yards
Season totals: 157 rush, 1,109 yards, 12 TD; 5 rec., 37 yards

Markus Allen, WR

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: 2 rec., 34 yards
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 2 rec., 34 yards

Grover Bortolotti, RB

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: 5 rush, 48 yards
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 5 rush, 48 yards

Jake Chaney, ILB

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Army: 1 tackle (solo)
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Minnesota: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo)

Ricardo Hallman, CB

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: 1 tackle, PBU
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle, PBU

Riley Mahlman, OL

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Darryl Peterson, OLB

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: 1 tackle
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle

Jake Ratzlaff, ILB

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Northwestern: 1 tackle
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle

Hunter Wohler, S
Penn State: Played, did not record a statistic
Eastern Michigan: 1 tackle
Notre Dame: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: 1 punt return, 0 yards
Illinois: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Army: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, 3 tackles (3 solo), PBU
Rutgers: 6 tackles (3 solo), TFL
Northwestern: 2 tackles (1 solo), sack, TFL
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Minnesota: 2 tackles (2 solo)
Season totals: 16 tackles (10 solo), 2 TFL, sack, PBU; 1 punt return, 0 yards

Have not playedAyo Adebogun, OLB; Owen Arnett, S; Skyler Bell, WR; JP Benzschawel, OL; T.J. Bollers, OLB; Deacon Hill, QB; Mike Jarvis, DE; Alex Moeller, WR; Jack Pugh, TE; Nolan Rucci, OL; Bryan Sanborn, ILB; Garrison Solliday, ILB; Nate Van Zeist, K; Zach Zei, LS.

Out for seasonAl Ashford, CB
Duncan McKinley, LS

REDSHIRT FRESHMEN

Haakon Anderson, WR
Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Notre Dame: 1 kick return, 14 yards
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1 kick return, 14 yards

No longer with team

Loyal Crawford, RB

Antwan Roberts, RB

Tanor Bortolini, OL

Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Started, did not record a statistic
Army: Started, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Minnesota: Started, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

Kaden Johnson, OLB
Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Did not play
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: 1 tackle (solo)
Rutgers: 1 tackle (solo)
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Minnesota: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 2 tackles (2 solo)

Max Lofy, CB
Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: 1 tackle (solo)
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: 1 tackle
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: 1 tackle
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 3 tackles (solo)

Jack Nelson, OL
Penn State: Played, did not record a statistic
Eastern Michigan: Started, did not record a statistic
Notre Dame: Started, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Started, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Started, did not record a statistic
Army: Started, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Started, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Started, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Started, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Started, did not record a statistic
Minnesota: Started, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

James Thompson Jr., DE
Penn State: Played, did not record a statistic
Eastern Michigan: 1 tackle
Notre Dame: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: 1 tackle
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Rutgers: 2 tackles, QBH
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: 1 tackle
Minnesota: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 6 tackles (1 solo), QBH

Jordan Turner, ILB
Penn State: Played, did not record a statistic
Eastern Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: 2 tackles, INT
Northwestern: INT
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 2 tackles, 2 INT

Trey Wedig, OL
Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Notre Dame: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Army: Played, did not record a statistic
Purdue: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Rutgers: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Minnesota: Did not play

Season totals: n/a

Amaun Williams, CB
Penn State: Did not play
Eastern Michigan: 1 tackle
Notre Dame: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Army: Did not play
Purdue: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Rutgers: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Minnesota: Did not play

Season totals: 1 tackle

Have not played
Dylan Barrett, OL; Ben Barten, OL; Ross Gengler, ILB; Kerry Kodanko, OL; Cade McDonald, DE; Gavin Meyers, K/P; Riley Nowakowski, OLB; Isaac Smith, WR; Sean Timmis, OL; Preston Zachman, S.

Out for season
Cole Dakovich, TE
Cam Large, TE (3 games, no statistics)

No longer with team
Jalen Berger, RB (3 games, 24 rush, 88 yards, TD; 2 rec., 17 yards)
Devin Chandler, WR (6 games, 4 kick returns, 85 yards)

"TRUE" SOPHOMORES
Chimere Dike, WR

Penn State: 1 rec., 9 yards
Eastern Michigan: 3 rec., 30 yards
Notre Dame: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: 2 rec., 54 yards, TD
Illinois: 3 rec., 22 yards; 1 rush, 12 yards
Army: 1 rec., -4 yards
Purdue: 2 kick returns, 34 yards
Iowa: 1 rec., 22 yards; kick return, 21 yards
Rutgers: 3 rec., 55 yards
Northwestern: 3 rec., 37 yards; 1 kick return, 22 yards
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Minnesota: 1 rec., 17 yards
Season totals: 18 rec., 242 yards, TD; 2 rush, 22 yards; 4 kick returns, 77 yards

Nick Herbig, OLB
Penn State: Started, 3 tackles (3 solo), sack, TFL, QBH
Eastern Michigan: Started, 1 tackle, .5 sack, .5 TFL
Notre Dame: Started, 3 tackles (2 solo), 2 sacks, 2 TFL
Michigan: Started, 8 tackles (5 solo), TFL, PBU
Illinois: Started, 3 tackles (1 solo), 3 PBU
Army: Started, 7 tackles (5 solo), TFL
Purdue: Started, 3 tackles (3 solo), FR
Iowa: Started, 6 tackles (2 solo), 2.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL, FF
Rutgers: Started, 3 tackles (3 solo), 2 TFL, sack
Northwestern: Started, 5 tackles (4 solo), TFL, FF
Nebraska: Started, 7 tackles (4 solo), TFL
Minnesota: Started, 8 tackles (3 solo)
Season totals: 57 tackles (35 solo), 12 TFL, 7 sacks, 4 PBU, 1 QBH, 2 FF, 1 FR

Jack Van Dyke, K
Penn State: 3 kickoffs, 1 touchback
Eastern Michigan: 7 kickoffs, 6 touchbacks
Notre Dame: 4 kickoffs, 1 touchback
Michigan: 4 kickoffs, 1 touchback, 1 out of bounds
Illinois: Did not play
Army: 3 kickoffs, 1 touchback
Purdue: 3 kickoffs, 1 touchback
Iowa: 6 kickoffs, 2 touchbacks
Rutgers: 8 kickoffs, 4 touchbacks, 1 tackle (solo), FF
Northwestern: Did not play
Nebraska: 2 kickoffs, 0 touchbacks
Minnesota: Did not play
Season totals: 40 kickoffs, 17 touchbacks, 1 out of bounds; 1 tackle (solo), FF

Out for season
Aaron Witt, OLB