Deron Harrell’s performance at Iowa impressed the University of Wisconsin coaching staff enough to place himself in the running for another start this week when the Badgers host Nebraska at Camp Randall Stadium.
The redshirt freshman, who earned his first career start against Iowa, is now listed as a co-starter at cornerback with sophomore Caesar Williams on UW’s depth chart.
“I thought Deron did some good things,” Badgers coach Paul Chryst said. “Deron’s talented, and he’s gaining more and more confidence with the position. The first thing for him was playing in games, and how do you adjust within a game? He’s learning to do that and getting better at it.
“I think all the young DBs, we’re going to need them, and they’ve all done things that have been good that you want to build on, and each one has areas that they need to continue to work on. That’s why (Harrell’s) listed as that, because that’s what it is. He’s giving himself an opportunity to get more reps, to get more playing time.”
Harrell switched from wide receiver to cornerback this offseason and emerged as a candidate for playing time during fall camp. Williams and redshirt freshman Faion Hicks separated themselves over the final couple weeks of preseason, but Dontye Carriere-Williams’ departure from the program two days before UW’s opener against Western Kentucky allowed Harrell more opportunities to see the field during non-conference play.
Harrell surprisingly earned the start against the Hawkeyes and went on to play 33 snaps to Williams’ 23, per Pro Football Focus. He allowed a long completion and committed a pass interference penalty on the game’s first drive but appeared to settle in as the game progressed.
“Deron has great talent. He has a lot of talent,” UW senior safety D’Cota Dixon said. “I think with him, the more he gets comfortable, the more he gets playing, the more time and reps he gets in games, I think his confidence will start to build more. Honestly, when he was at Iowa, I thought his confidence was off the ceiling. He was very natural, very poised in the game. … He looks pretty good for us. I think he’ll be a real good one in the years to come.”
Van Ginkel, Hicks questionable
Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (right leg) and Hicks (right arm) are among those questionable to play Saturday against Nebraska.
Van Ginkel suffered his injury early in the Badgers’ loss to BYU on Sept. 15 before playing five snaps the following week at Iowa.
Running back Bradrick Shaw (left leg), tight end Luke Benzschawel (right leg) and inside linebacker Mike Maskalunas (right leg) are also listed as questionable this week, while inside linebacker Griffin Grady (right leg) will remain out.
Tight end Zander Neuville, who missed the majority of the past two games with a right leg injury, is no longer listed on the UW’s injury report.
Michigan kickoff time announced
The Badgers will continue their trend of playing under the lights next week when they travel to Michigan.
UW and the Wolverines are set for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff at Michigan Stadium on Oct. 13, with ABC televising the game.
It marks the Badgers’ third straight night game and fourth overall in their first six contests.