On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers will be having a lot of new faces. The linebacker, cornerback, defensive end, and safety. While that brings uncertainty to the defense; the Badgers have developed great depth at both linebacker spots and at defensive end. They also have experienced transfer portal players who will be starting at both cornerback spots this fall. However, one position that is lacking depth is at safety.

Last season’s starting safeties Scott Nelson and Collin Wilder have all graduated. This means that John Torchio and Hunter Wohler or Travian Blaylock will be sliding into the starting jobs. Torchio has played a lot of college football and has appeared in 25 games in his career. He even picked off three passes in his career including two in 2021. Hunter Wohler is a former four-star recruit who appeared in 12 games as a freshman and even had a sack. He also registered 16 total tackles and the Badgers are wanting to see what they have in the now sophomore safety.

Recently at spring practice, Travian Blaylock injured his leg, and it is unknown whether it is serious. He was unable to put any weight on it when he left the field. Other potential starting safety Hunter Wohler replaced him. While Blaylock hasn’t made huge contributions to the defense has been great on special teams. With 20 games of experience, Blaylock was vying for a bigger role this season. Blaylock had been working with the first team, pairing with John Torchio for most of spring practice.

Blaylock’s injury is a severe blow to the Badgers’ already very thin secondary. Preston Zachman is already out with an unknown injury further hindering the safety depth. The only other healthy safeties available are walk-ons Bryce Carey and Owen Arnett. Carey originally transferred from Northern Illinois and was converted from quarterback to safety. He also hasn’t been on a college football roster since 2019. Arenett was redshirted in 2021.

There are only four scholarship safeties on the current Wisconsin Badgers roster and two of them are hurt. One thing that hurt them back in 2020 was when two-year player Dante Caputo decided to transfer. The think safety depth puts a lot of pressure on both John Torchio and Hunter Wohler to stay healthy this season. If Torchio or Wohler go down, the Badgers might be in trouble.

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Eric Katz

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