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Fresh faces: Wisconsin

8/3/2011

Our look at three fresh faces to watch for each Big Ten team this season continues with the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin has produced the past two Big Ten Freshmen of the Year (RB James White in 2010, LB Chris Borland in 2009).

These players are freshmen, redshirt freshmen, transfers or upperclassmen ready to move into much bigger roles this season.

OFFENSE: Manasseh Garner, TE/WR, sophomore, 6-2, 210

Wisconsin needs more pass-catching options to help its new starting quarterback, and Garner should see an increased role this fall. The Badgers love to feature their tight ends as receivers, and Garner has the speed and athleticism to get open in the middle of the field. He played mostly on special teams as a true freshman but had a nice spring and fits the tight end-wide receiver hybrid mold, much like former All-Big Ten standout Lance Kendricks. Garner had four receptions for 57 yards in the spring game.

DEFENSE: Marcus Trotter, LB, redshirt freshman, 6-0, 235

Injuries to top middle linebackers Chris Borland and Ethan Armstrong allowed Trotter to play with the first-team defense this spring. Trotter capitalized on the opportunity, impressing the coaches with his play and increasing his chances of seeing the field this season. He had five tackles and a forced fumble in the spring game and boasts a knack for being around the ball. Trotter provides some insurance in case Borland's shoulder issues crop up again.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Kenzel Doe, WR, freshman, 5-8, 170

Wisconsin hopes Doe can step in following the departure of longtime return man David Gilreath. Doe enrolled early and had an impressive spring, drawing comparisons to Gilreath and showing good leaping ability to counter his size. The coaches will give him immediate opportunities on returns as Wisconsin tries to remain among the Big Ten leaders.

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