MADISON - Wisconsin's already thin defensive backfield just got a lot thinner on Tuesday. 2013 junior college signee Donnell Vercher, a safety from Fresno City Community College, was reportedly denied admission to Wisconsin and will enroll at Fresno State, according to a report by CBS 47 out of Fresno, Calif.
Vercher originally signed with Wisconsin after new head coach Gary Andersen and his staff offered him a scholarship, but the report mentions that transcript issues kept Vercher from enrolling at Wisconsin.
Vercher is the second safety to leave the team or not enroll in as many weeks, as redshirt freshman safety Reggie Mitchell has reportedly decided to transfer to Pittsburgh.
Mitchell earned practice time with the first team at safety this spring, but was likely heading into a competition with Vercher for a starting job during fall camp.
Vercher's situation and Mitchell's reported departure puts the Badgers back at square one at safety, where Dezmen Southward is the only returning player with significant starting experience. The Badgers will likely look to Michael Trotter of Michael Caputo to step in and compete for a starting job at safety this fall, or they might decide to move cornerback Darius Hillary back to safety now that T.J. Reynard has joined the team.
The Badgers have also moved Kyle Zuleger, Isaiah Williams and Jeffrey Lewis to safety since the start of spring camp.
It's likely that they'll try many different looks at safety during fall camp, because come this time next year they won't have Southward to fall back on.
Safety has become a major concern, and Andersen and his staff will likely focus on bringing in more talent at the position in their recruiting classes to come.