August 3, 2006

Fall camp preview: Wide receivers

MADISON, Wis. - Today, continues looking at the Wisconsin Badgers football team position-by-position heading into fall camp. The Badgers report to camp on Aug. 6.

In this edition of the fall preview series we feature the wide receivers, a group trying to replace the very talented duo of Jonathan Orr and Brandon Williams, both of whom finished their college careers last season and are now in the NFL. Even the Badgers' third receiver, Brandon White, was a senior last season, making his spot up for grabs.

Needless to say, wide receivers coach Henry Mason, a holdover from Barry Alvarez's staff, has vacancies to fill at all of his receiver spots and he has young, unproven talent to work with.

The Badgers recruited six receivers this past recruiting cycle to cushion the blow the position would take in 2006. But only five of the six recruits have made it to campus as prep star Daven Jones did not enroll this semester apparently because of academic concerns.

Here is a look at the wide receivers.

SR Jeff Holzbauer (5-foot-11, 190 pounds)

Holzbauer is one of two seniors in the wide receiver depth, yet being one of the older players on the unit doesn't necessarily mean he has experience. Holzbauer hasn't lettered during his time in Madison and he axed a possible chance to do so last season when he was involved in a water skiing accident just before fall camp began. He should be ready to for camp this year with an opportunity to compete for some real time.

JR Paul Hubbard (6-foot-4, 217 pounds)

Known as a track guy playing football, Hubbard is looking to change that thought during his junior season. After a confidence-boosting spring, Hubbard seems set to fill in as the Badgers' long threat. His length at 6-4 and his track speed allow him to stretch the field. Now he needs to become more consistent catching the football. The staff in Madison is hoping that more repetitions during fall camp will equal more receptions during the season. Hubbard is a strong candidate to start.

R-Fr Richard Kirtley (6-foot-2, 180 pounds)

Kirtley's name was first mentioned to this site by Jonathan Orr days before playing in the Capital One Bowl this past winter. Orr said to look out for Kirtley and I inevitably did during spring ball. He did not disappoint. Kirtley might be smaller than his comrades on the field, but he more than makes up his size by being about as sure-handed as they come. I recommend that Badger fans keep an eye on No. 17 as he might see the field sooner rather than later. He could very well sneak into a starting job.

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