Badgers tight ends prepare to replace Fumagalli

As they hit the practice field for spring football, the Badgers have high hopes for their passing attack. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook returns along with most of his receiving corps. There is one noticeable absence, however. Last season’s leading receiver, Troy Fumagalli, is off to the NFL.

Fumagalli had a big senior season. He earned second-team All-American honors while catching 46 passes for 547 yards and four touchdowns. The Badgers will look to a committee of tight ends to replace that production.

Wisconsin has a pair of tight ends with substantial game experience. Senior Zander Neuville caught nine passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns last season. Junior Kyle Penniston added 56 yards on seven catches with a touchdown. Penniston says the tight end meeting room has felt different this spring without Fumagalli.

"It’s different not having him there and not having someone to lean on and talk about things and bounce ideas off of him. But I mean, it’s fun because instead of it being the Troy show, I kind of get a chance to step up and see what I can do."
After watching the growth of Fumagalli up close, Penniston believes he could follow a similar path.
"The goal is to be like Troy, do things that he did. Obviously, it’s not going to be exactly as he did, but like him be an All-American, be All-Big Ten. Those are things on my list of things I want to accomplish this season. It might be a little lofty, but shoot for the stars, I guess."
The Badgers also have sophomore Luke Benzschawel that could work his way into the mix. Madison Memorial product Jake Ferguson is also expected to see time after redshirting last season.
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