Quintez Cephus

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Jonathan Taylor and No. 19 Wisconsin run all over USF in Friday night romp

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Jonathan Taylor’s early Heisman Trophy campaign is off to a good start.

The talented tailback showcased his improved versatility and strong running ability on Friday night, leading No. 19 Wisconsin to an impressive 49-0 rout over USF in hot and rainy conditions down in Tampa.

Taylor, looking to put together another season of 2,000+ yards, was fed early and often. He finished with 135 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in just three quarters worth of work and lived up to all the offseason talk of him being more of a threat in the passing game with his first two career touchdown receptions.

The productive start to the season surely boosted his profile as the Badgers look to bounce back into Big Ten West contention. Other developments that could prove just as big for Paul Chryst’s team included a very stout defensive effort (three sacks, three turnovers, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, 157 total yards allowed) and a solid debut to the year for quarterback Jack Coan. The latter spread the ball around to nine different receivers and threw for 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Notably, one of those wideouts to catch a pass was Quintez Cephus. Just a week after being cleared to play and reinstated to the team after his acquittal of sexual assault charges, he recorded three catches for 39 yards — marks that were second-most in the game. Nakia Watson and Bradrick Shaw also chipped in with touchdown runs as well as things got out of hand early and often in favor of Wisconsin.

A big factor in that was new Bulls coordinator Kerwin Bell’s offense not looking ready for primetime at the FBS level. Despite the scheme setting a number of records at the Division II level, USF failed to find much consistency at all using it in the opener. QB Blake Barnett was just 13-of-30 for 109 yards and two interceptions plus a fumble that was returned the other way for a score. The team averaged under two yards a carry on the evening and you could count on one hand the number of third down conversions they had in the contest (three).

All of which made for a game that was over well before halftime as the visitors from the Big Ten breezed to an easy victory to open 2019 — even if it was a bit later than expected after waiting out an early weather delay prior to kickoff. Not that such a wait mattered all that much to Taylor and company given the kind of production they put forth against USF.

Wisconsin confirms Jack Coan will start for Badgers

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The latest completely unsurprising quarterback decision? Step right up Wisconsin!

As has long been expected, the Badgers confirmed via their Week 1 depth chart release on Sunday that junior Jack Coan would be the Badgers starting quarterback for the upcoming season:

Coan was an obvious choice for Paul Chryst given his experience at the position and one wonders what took the program so long in naming him the guy given his five starts last season, including leading a blowout of a Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl. He threw for 515 yards and five touchdowns (against three interceptions) last year and replaced a rather ineffective Alex Hornibrook down the stretch.

With Hornibrook transferring to Florida State in the offseason and both Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf being freshmen, picking Coan to lead the team under center was an expected end result.

Perhaps the far more interesting name on the Wisconsin depth chart is that of wide receiver Quintez Cephus as the backup behind Kendric Pryor. While the former’s talent undoubtedly makes him one of the top options in the passing game, it’s still notable to see his name pop up given that he was so recently reinstated to the team following his acquittal of sexual assault charges earlier in the month.

Cephus has been practicing with the team but he did miss all of last season while dealing with the legal issues and will have less than two weeks of practices under his belt before the opener at USF on Aug. 30.

Either way, we at least know where he stands in the pecking order for the Badgers and who will be throwing him passes this season as UW gets set to make another run at the Big Ten title.

Lack of class credits behind eligibility issue as Quintez Cephus returns to football practice at Wisconsin

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Now we officially know the rest of the story. How it will ultimately all play out, though, is decidedly uncertain.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Monday that Quintez Cephus had been reinstated and is again a student in good standing at the school, two weeks after being found not guilty on a pair of sexual assault charges and almost immediately seeking reinstatement.  Initially, there was some uncertainty when it came to the wide receiver’s status with the football team; in a statement released a few hours after the reinstatement affirmation, UW confirmed that Cephus had indeed rejoined the Badgers team.

The school did note in that release, though, that they “are working through eligibility issues before he can participate in a game.” Wednesday, the same day Cephus returned to practice with the rest of his Badger teammates, Paul Chryst expounded on the eligibility issue, telling reporters that it revolves around the lack of class credits, which stemmed from his expulsion from the school before the spring semester this year ended.

At this point, whether the credit issue can be successfully navigated before the Badgers’ open the 2019 season the weekend after next remains to be seen.

Two days after very loudly proclaiming his innocence and announcing he was taking a leave of absence from the Wisconsin football team, Cephus was charged in late August of last year with felony sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and felony sexual assault.  The criminal complaint filed against him stated that he allegedly “sexually assaulted two drunken women at once in the bedroom of his apartment in April” of 2018.

It took a jury of his peers less than 45 minutes to acquit him on both of those counts earlier this month.

Cephus was initially suspended by the Badgers football program before being expelled by the university last semester.  In October of last year, Cephus sued the University of Wisconsin-Madison in U.S. District Court, claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights.  That suit was dropped in March of this year.

In 2017, and despite missing the last five games because of a broken leg, Cephus led the run-centric Badgers in receiving touchdowns with six and yards per catch at 16.7.  His 501 receiving yards were good for second, while his 30 receptions were third on the team.  Because of the off-field situation that led to the suspension, Cephus didn’t play at all in 2018.

Including this season, Cephus has two years of eligibility he can use.

Wisconsin needs to navigate ‘eligibility issues’ before Quintez Cephus can play in games

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Quintez Cephus‘ winding off-field journey has led him back once again to the Wisconsin football program, although when he’ll actually take the field again for the Badgers remains up in the air.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Monday that Cephus has been reinstated and is again a student in good standing at the school, two weeks after being found not guilty on a pair of sexual assault charges and almost immediately seeking reinstatement.  Initially, there was some uncertainty when it came to the wide receiver’s status with the football team; in a statement released a few hours after the reinstatement affirmation, UW confirmed that Cephus has rejoined the Badgers team.

The school did note in its release, though, that they “are working through eligibility issues before he can participate in a game.” Whether those unspecified issues can be navigated before the Badgers’ open the 2019 season the weekend after next remains to be seen.

Two days after very loudly proclaiming his innocence and announcing he was taking a leave of absence from the Wisconsin football team, Cephus was charged in late August of last year with felony sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and felony sexual assault.  The criminal complaint filed against him stated that he allegedly “sexually assaulted two drunken women at once in the bedroom of his apartment in April” of 2018.

It took a jury of his peers less than 45 minutes to acquit him on both of those counts earlier this month.

Cephus was initially suspended by the Badgers football program before being expelled by the university last semester.  In October of last year, Cephus sued the University of Wisconsin-Madison in U.S. District Court, claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights.  That suit was dropped in March of this year.

In 2017, Cephus led the run-centric Badgers in receiving touchdowns with six and yards per catch at 16.7.  His 501 receiving yards were good for second, while his 30 receptions were third on the team.  Because of the off-field situation that led to the suspension, Cephus didn’t play at all in 2018.

Including this season, Cephus has two years of eligibility he can use.

Wisconsin reinstates WR Quintez Cephus

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The all-around ugly saga of Quintez Cephus met its end, or at least hurdled toward its end, on Monday when Wisconsin announced his expulsion has been lifted and he is once again a student at UW-Madison.

Said the school in a statement:

UW–Madison has a responsibility to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct in a prompt and thorough manner, as directed by state and federal laws. The university applies its code of conduct impartially and consistently regardless of the identities of the individuals involved.

In the case of Quintez Cephus, this process functioned appropriately and in accordance with state and federal guidelines and proceeded based on the information available to UW–Madison at the time of the university’s investigation and hearing process.

UW–Madison obtained information following the criminal proceeding that was not provided to the university during the student conduct process. Chancellor Rebecca Blank conducted a review of this information and the petition for Quintez Cephus’ reinstatement as quickly as possible and in a complete and impartial manner.

Cephus was originally accused of sexually assaulting two women in the bedroom of his apartment in April of 2018, and was later charged with two counts of felony sexual assault.

Cephus proclaimed his innocence the entire time, suing the school for violating his constitutional rights while marshaling the support of his former teammates. A letter signed by Zach Baun, Tyler Biadasz, Jack Coan, Garrett Groshek, Chris Orr, AJ Taylor and Jonathan Taylor said the following:

You have all the facts. You and your staff now have an opportunity to make a fully informed decision for the first time. Your decision can alleviate a racial tension felt by your students. You get to decide if the University confirms or corrects this feeling.

Cephus stood trial for the charges and was acquitted on both counts earlier this month. He stated he planned to return to college at Wisconsin or elsewhere… and now the option to return to school in Madison is officially on the table.

“We are still in the phase of recovering from the fact that he spent the last year of his life under terrible strain and allegations,” his attorney, Andrew Miltenberg, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It was a very rough ride over the last year. Everyone is just sort of coming up for air.”

“All three of the primary participants in this case are our students, and I know the past year has been painful for everyone involved,” Chancellor Blank said Monday. “My decision is based on the availability of substantial new information that wasn’t made available to us during the earlier process. I recognize that some will disagree with this decision.”

“To those in our community who have experienced sexual assault, I sincerely hope that there is nothing in this case that will deter you from coming forward for support. Our university continues to be prepared to listen and respond.”

As a sophomore in 2017, Cephus led the Badgers with six touchdown grabs while catching 30 passes for 501 yards.