Predicting player ratings for Wisconsin’s 2024 starters in EA Sports College Football 25

Predicting player ratings for Wisconsin’s 2024 starters in EA Sports College Football 25

College football fans rejoiced on Thursday as EA Sports officially announced a July 19 release date for the much-anticipated ‘College Football 25’ video game.

The edition of the game will be more than a decade in the making. The last edition was released in 2013, that before the series was discontinued due to the NCAA’s amateurism rules.

Related: Post-spring Big Ten football 2024 power rankings, starting quarterback rankings

Those rules were eliminated in 2019 when the NCAA’s board of governors voted to allow athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. That opened the door for the video game franchise to return, a return that was officially announced in 2021.

Now three years later, the game is only two months away from its release.

We’ve already taken a look at Wisconsin Badgers who could be the franchise’s future cover athletes. This year’s edition features Texas QB Quinn Ewers, Colorado WR/CB Travis Hunter and Michigan RB Donovan Edwards. Wisconsin will need to reach national relevance before one of its stars can appear on the cover.

Before any of that happens, it’s time to take a stab at the player ratings for every Wisconsin starter entering the 2024 season:

QB Tyler Van Dyke

Wisconsin quarterback Tyler Van Dyke throws a pass as coach Luke Fickell watches during spring practice at the McClain Center in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday April 2, 2024. Credit: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Projected Rating: 84

Van Dyke brings four years of college experience to the table, which should count for something. He won’t be close to the highest-rated quarterback in the conference. But this should be the classic rating for accomplished five-year veterans who aren’t top NFL prospects.

RB Chez Mellusi

Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) runs the ball during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 82

Mellusi should be a highly-rated player, he’s just been crushed by injuries over the last few seasons. He might have the attributes of an ’84’ or ’85’ without much durability.

RB Tawee Walker

Nov 24, 2023; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Tawee Walker (29) runs for a touchdown against TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Jamoi Hodge (6) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 78

The Oklahoma transfer has the potential to be a big contributor for Wisconsin. But there are still questions about whether he can carry a backfield. He won’t need to with the Badgers, but the ’78’ rating reflects a boom-or-bust potential.

WR Will Pauling

Oct 28, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Will Pauling (6) catches a pass in front of Ohio State Buckeyes safety Josh Proctor (41) during the fourth quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 89

Pauling will be the highest-rated player on Wisconsin’s offense. He is set to improve upon a stellar 2023 season and again lead the team in nearly every receiving category.

WR Bryson Green

Sep 9, 2023; Pullman, Washington, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Bryson Green (9) is unable to make the one handed catch against Washington State Cougars defensive back Cam Lampkin (3) in the second half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Washington State won 31-22. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 85

Wisconsin’s wide receiver room is really good, evidenced by our projected ratings. Green has proven college experience and a high floor entering the season.

WR C.J. Williams

Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers cornerback Marquis Wilson (16) tackles Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver C.J. Williams (4) during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 77

C.J. Williams is a wild card entering 2024. We’re projecting him to start, but the team’s receiver room can go 6-deep with contributors. He is a highly-touted recruit with a high ceiling and not much proven production.

TE Riley Nowakowski

Nov 25, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Wisconsin Badgers tight end Riley Nowakowski (37) celebrates his 7-yard touchdown reception against the Minnesota Golden Gophers with tight end Hayden Rucci (87) and wide receiver Vinny Anthony II (86) during the third quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 73

Tight end is an afterthought on the 2024 Badgers. The veteran Nowakowski better fits a Paul Chryst offense than Phil Longo’s air raid. As a result, he won’t be utilized much as a receiver in 2024.

LT Jack Nelson

Wisconsin offensive lineman Jack Nelson (79) goes through a drill during spring practice at the McClain Center in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday April 2, 2024. Credit: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Projected Rating: 84

Jack Nelson has a strong baseline of success. He is a dependable veteran tackle, though may lack the top-end NFL potential. Wisconsin will be solid all across the offensive line — the more important thing will be how the group plays together.

LG Joe Brunner

Apr 11, 2023; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin offensive lineman Joe Brunner (56) is shown during practice Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 80

Brunner is an ’80’ entering the season due to his lack of starting experience. But he has the potential to quickly reach the high 80s. The offensive line has the potential to swing their ratings more than any other position on the team.

C Jake Renfro

Wisconsin offensive lineman Jake Renfro (57) is shown during the fourth quarter of their game Saturday, November 18, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin beat Nebraska 24-17 in overtime. Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Projected Rating: 82

Renfro was an all-AAC center in 2021 but hasn’t started a full season since. He has potential to rise, but the ’82’ reflects the unknown entering the season.

RG Joe Huber

Wisconsin running back Chez Mellusi (1) takes advantage of a block by offensive lineman Joe Huber (60) during the first quarter of their game against Buffalo Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 77

Huber, like Renfro, transferred from Cincinnati ahead of the 2023 season and hasn’t played much as a Badger. He is an unknown entering the season.

RT Riley Mahlman

Apr 11, 2023; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin offensive lineman Riley Mahlman (71) is shown during practice Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 87

Mahlman is likely Wisconsin’s best lineman entering the 2024 season. He could jump into legitimate NFL draft consideration with another strong season.

DL James Thompson Jr.

Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers defensive end James Thompson Jr. (90) celebrates after sacking Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card (1) during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 84

Thompson is Wisconsin’s best in a defensive line room that is a question mark entering the season.

DL Curt Neal

Wisconsin defensive line coach E.J. Whitlow talks with Curt Neal during spring practice at the McClain Center in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday April 2, 2024. Credit: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Projected Rating: 76

Curt Neal has a chance to cement himself as a starter entering the season. He’s more of a combination of youth and potential than proven production. The ’76’ rating can rise quickly if he plays well.

OLB Darryl Peterson

Nov 12, 2022; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Darryl Peterson (17) reacts after a defensive stop during the first quarter as Iowa Hawkeyes offensive linemen Mason Richman (78) and Logan Jones (65) look on at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 81

Peterson has years of experience but not much top-end production. He deserves a pass after the program shifted its defensive scheme in 2023. But 2024 will be a make-or-break year for the veteran — that with a lot of talent in the room waiting in the wings.

OLB Leon Lowery

Dec 29, 2022; Bronx, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange linebacker Leon Lowery (16) celebrates a defensive stop during the first half of the 2022 Pinstripe Bowl against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 82

Lowery enters 2024 as an unknown after transferring from Syracuse, but also with a ton of ‘boom’ potential. The OLB room could see one of the largest ratings increases with a strong season.

ILB Jake Chaney

Oct 22, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Jake Chaney (36) sacks Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O’Connell (16) during the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 84

Chaney is set for a breakout year after the departures of Maema Njongmeta and Jordan Turner. His speed and explosiveness is off the charts and should lead to high sack and tackle numbers.

ILB Jaheim Thomas

Oct 7, 2023; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Ulysses Bentley IV (24) runs the ball as Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Jaheim Thomas (28) makes the tackle during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 86

Thomas is a multi-year starter with experience at Cincinnati and Arkansas. He could be one of the more dependable forces on Wisconsin’s defense.

CB Ricardo Hallman

Defensive back Ricardo Hallman warms up for spring practice at the McClain Center in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday April 2, 2024. Credit: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Projected Rating: 90

Hallman is one of the best players on the 2024 team after an exceptional 2023. He leads a strong CB room as one of Wisconsin’s two players with 90+ ratings.

CB Nyzier Fourqurean

Jan 1, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) runs with the ball towards Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Nyzier Fourqurean (10) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 83

Fourqurean was a surprise in 2023 and is set to break out even further in 2024. He should see plenty of targets playing across from Hallman, which could lead to a high interception number.

Slot CB Max Lofy

Nov 26, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Max Lofy (12) celebrates following a tackle during the third quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 76

Lofy was a surprise during spring practice and could quickly rise once the season begins. He’s an unheralded veteran, but is currently beating out some talented players in the room.

S Hunter Wohler

Nov 11, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers safety Hunter Wohler (24) celebrates following a play during the third quarter against the Northwestern Wildcats at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 93

Hunter Wohler is Wisconsin’s best player entering 2024. His stat-sheet production is significant, and his impact on the game goes even further. He’s the team’s best chance at getting a player in the mid-90s

S Kamo’i Latu

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 08: Kamo’i Latu #13 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates after intercepting a pass from Ryan Hilinski #3 of the Northwestern Wildcats (not pictured) during the first half at Ryan Field on October 08, 2022 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Projected Rating: 83

Latu will battle in a crowded safety room that sometimes deploys three players (Austin Brown should play a significant role).

That said, Latu is a classic boom-or-bust player who will create disruption this season.

K Nathanial Vakos

Jan 1, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers punter Gavin Meyers (28) holds the ball for Wisconsin Badgers place kicker Nathanial Vakos (90) during the first half against the LSU Tigers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Rating: 88

Vakos was fantastic in 2023 after transferring from Ohio. He could play himself into NFL consideration with a strong 2024 season.

P Atticus Bertrams

Wisconsin punter Atticus Bertrams reviews a play sheet while helping the scout team during practice on Tuesday April 9, 2024 at the McClain Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Credit: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Projected Rating: 79

Bertrams was a bit of a disappointment in 2023. But it was his first season in the Big Ten. 2024 should see a bounce-back campaign.

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