This past February, Wisconsin signed a whopping five wide receivers as part of its 2014 recruiting class. Heading into summer camp, that number has been pared nearly in half.
UW receivers coach Chris Beatty confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that 2014 recruits Chris Jones and Dareian Watkins are no longer a part of the Badger football team. In fact, the former is already enrolled at Toledo and will play for the Rockets this season.
While Jones met the minimum NCAA academic standards, he failed to qualify academically to enroll at UW.
“We have high (academic) standards at Wisconsin and that is a good thing,” Beatty told the Journal-Sentinel Friday. “That is what makes Wisconsin Wisconsin and what makes the Big Ten the Big Ten.”
Watkins, meanwhile, is undergoing some type of personal issues that led him to leave the school and head back home to Ohio. Watkins was abused by his biological mother and was eventually adopted by a family at the age of 11. That family appears concerned about the life choices their son is making at the moment.
“Unfortunately, I think he’s making poor choices,” Heath Watkins, the player’s adoptive father, told the Wisconsin State Journal. “We wish we could help him with those choices, but he is not open to help right now.”
It’s unclear if Watkins will return to the Badgers at some point in the future.
“I just wish him well and hope it works out for the best,” Beatty said.
Watkins was a four-star recruit and the highest-rated for the five receivers in that class. He was the No. 10 player at any position in the state of Ohio, and one of just four four-star UW signees this past cycle. A three-star recruit, Jones was rated as the No. 66 receiver in the country coming out of high school in Maryland.
In addition to Watkins and Jones, defensive lineman Bryce Gilbert and safety Nate Hammon are no longer on the team as well. The latter is giving up football due to injuries, while the former, who played in eight games last season, is transferring out to an undetermined location.
(Photo credit: Rivals.com)