Led by Junior Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin's tight ends will not only provide a solid safety valve for the quarterbacks this season, but with their ability to stretch the field and make plays with the ball, this group of tight ends has a chance to be special.
Pedersen is a favorite for the Mackey Award heading into 2012.
"Pedersen is one of them, but I'd be remiss to say just him," said Tight End Coach Eddie Faulkner. "This whole group is just guys you like being around. They help each other out. Obviously there is some competition for who's playing, but they also know, you're only as good as your weakest link.
"They're very smart. They see things happening on the field a little bit before they happen. Guys who you can tell something to once, who can see it on film once, and be able to go out on the field and execute it. It's a great group to work with."
The Front Runner
Reception Yards: 488
Jacob Pedersen is a favorite for the Mackey Award this season after hauling in 38 receptions, for 388 yards, and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore. New Tight End Coach Eddie Faulkner is looking to get him involved in the offense as much as possible, especially to help out transfer quarterback Danny O'Brien and freshman signal caller Joel Stave.
If healthy, Wozniak can make plays on offense for the Badgers.
Reception Yards: N/A
Brian Woziak has battled injuries and if he can stay healthy this season, will be a solid number two option behind Pedersen. Wozniak can stretch the field and at 6-foot-4, 260-pounds with solid speed, presents quite the match up problem over the middle.
The Dark Horse
Reception Yards: 19
Traylor is coming along nicely for Wisconsin.
Brock DeCicco is eligible to play this season and the transfer from Pittsburgh is looking to get some reps behind Pedersen this season. DeCicco played a bit for the Panthers as a freshman. The 6-foot-5, 246-pound tight end appears to be a much better fit with Wisconsin.
"That's the other main reason I wanted to come here with how big the tight end is in this offense," he said.
Also in the Mix
Reception Yards: N/A
Austin Traylor had an excellent spring camp, getting some starting reps. Traylor's physical tools and excellent hands make him a dangerous weapon for the Badgers at tight end. It's only a matter of time before Traylor makes a solid impact in Madison.
"Yeah I think I'm ready to play," said Traylor. "Obviously with (Jacob) Pedersen back, he started for us, second team All-Big Ten, so they're not going to move him. But I think I could contribute on special teams, get some reps on tight end if we get ahead on some teams and blow some teams out."
Reception Yards: 0
Sam Arneson played in 10 games as a true freshman for the Badgers. Arneson played sparingly as a blocking tight end, but looks to be solidifying his role as more of a pass catching tight end.