To continue our summer of football preview content at Bucky’s 5th Quarter, we are counting down Wisconsin’s Top 10 Most Important Players for the 2019 football season. These aren’t necessarily the “best” players on Wisconsin’s team, although you will find many of those listed, but they have been deemed the most important to Wisconsin’s success this year by our motley crew of writers.
There was much debate via email over who should be on the list and it even resulted in Drew going to Owen’s house and ding dong ditching him. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and now we have our final list to present to you.
Here is No. 10 on that list: cornerback Rachad Wildgoose
2018 stats: 10 games played (7 starts), 22 solo tackles, 29 total tackles, 7 pass breakups (lead the team), 2 fumble recoveries
2018 year in review: Wildgoose came in as a true freshman without much fanfare. He was rated a mid-level 3-star recruit by 247Sports and the Miami, Fla. native was considered a safety by some recruiting services. The Badgers had to replace multiple members of their secondary from the 2017 season, however, and Wildgoose proved himself capable of stepping in right away and producing.
In his first career start, at The Big House, against No. 12 Michigan he recorded five tackles and a pass breakup. In the triple-OT thriller versus Purdue, Wildgoose had two pass breakups and recovered a fumble to go along with four tackles. Against Northwestern he wrapped up seven different ball carriers for a career-high in tackles.
2019 year in preview: So, the Badgers pass defense, and defense as a whole, wasn’t terrible last year but it also wasn’t up to recent standards for Jim Leonhard’s unit. The cornerbacks now have eight different players that played at least four games last year and can basically send line changes at wide receivers each quarter. Wildgoose is likely to be starting opposite Faion Hicks on August 30th against USF and his nose for the ball should serve him well.
ESPN has gone so far as to name Wildgoose THE sophomore breakout candidate for the Badgers in 2019 and I’d say their choice is a pretty good one. Now, if we can just get him to take an interception back to the house so all of the “Wildgoose chase” tweets that Jake left in the B5Q drafts can be fired off, we’ll be in business.