CHICAGO - The University of Wisconsin was expected to have three upperclassmen lining up at cornerback in 2015 but it’ll only be two.
UW coach Paul Chryst told reporters on Thursday at Big Ten media days that Devin Gaulden decided to transfer closer to home for his final season of college football. And because he graduated in May, the fifth-year senior will be allowed to play right away at his chosen destination, Wake Forest.
Gaulden has battled lower body injuries throughout his time in Madison. He played in six games as a true freshman in 2011 after missing all of fall camp with a leg injury. The next year, four games into his sophomore season, Gaulden suffered a torn ACL. He would go on to fracture the patella in the same knee three times, partly because of the stress he put on his body to get back on the field. He was finally healthy last season, playing in all 14 games, including five starts as UW’s nickelback. He had nine tackles and two passes defended and now the Miramar, Fla. native will finish his career in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“[He] got his degree and wanted to back and play closer to home. Hard to argue against that,” Chryst said of Gaulden. “[He] loved his time in Wisconsin and just wanted one time to be able to come out of the locker room and have his whole family there. It’s pretty cool.”
Gaulden’s departure leaves sophomore Derrick Tindal as the only experienced cornerback behind starters Darius Hillary and Sojourn Shelton. However, the coaching staff likes what fifth-year senior Terrance Floyd did in the spring, as well as the potential in wide receiver turned defensive back Natrell Jamerson.
Meanwhile, offensive tackle Jaden Gault will not be a part of the team this year either. Out of Monona Grove, Gault was UW’s top recruit in the class of 2014 but has yet to step on the field as he deals with issues stemming from depression and anxiety.
Badgers in the Top 25
Wisconsin will start in the top 25 of the Amway Coaches’ Poll for a sixth-straight year.
The Badgers came in at No. 18 in the initial poll released on Tuesday, one of three Big Ten teams in the rankings. A year ago, they started at No. 19 and finished No. 13 after going 11-3 and beating Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
Reigning National Champion Ohio State comes in at No. 1, while Michigan State finds itself at No. 7. Six other conference teams were at least receiving votes.
UW’s season-opening opponent, Alabama, sits at No. 3, one of eight teams from the SEC in the poll. In total, five of the Badgers’ 12 opponents this season are either ranked or receiving votes.