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Badgers CB Rachad Wildgoose declares for NFL draft

Badgers CB Rachad Wildgoose declares for NFL draft

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Cornerback Rachad Wildgoose has declared for the 2021 NFL draft and won’t play for the University of Wisconsin football team the rest of the season.

Wildgoose, a junior from Miami, Florida, tweeted an image thanking the program's coaches, fans and others before stating his draft intentions.

rachad wildgoose mug 5-2


Wildgoose played in two games this season, missing the Michigan game after contracting COVID-19. He injured his right shoulder late in the first half against Northwestern and was on the sideline in a sling during the second half. UW hasn’t released the severity of his injury, and Wildgoose didn’t mention it in his post. He did not immediately answer a social media message seeking comment.

“Three years ago, the University of Wisconsin took a chance on a bright-eyed kid from Miami, Florida. Being a part of what I consider the greatest university in America has been the honor of my life. Madison helped mold the man you see today and I am thankful for having had the privilege to represent #BadgerNation. I will forever bleed Red and White!” Wildgoose wrote in his post.

“Coach Chryst, Thank you for always being genuine and honest. Coach Leonhard, thank you for molding me into the player I am today. You are not only a great teacher but a great mentor. You set the foundation and I can’t wait to build on it and make you proud. Thank you to my teammates. You have always been encouraging and caring. I will always cherish what we accomplished and you will always be my family.

"When you are part of a family, it is never goodbye but rather see you later. I may be taking the next step in my journey but I will always love the University of Wisconsin. A piece of my heart will always remain in Madison. Having said that, I have decided to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. I love you all and On Wisconsin! #TheGooseIsLoose." 

A UW spokesperson said the program had no comment on Wildgoose’s announcement.

Wildgoose is the first UW player to opt out of the season, his announcement came days after Minnesota star receiver Rashod Bateman opted out due to COVID-19 concerns. This weekend’s game between UW and Minnesota was canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Gophers’ program.

Northwestern running back Drake Anderson threw a cut block at Wildgoose, who was blitzing on a late-second-quarter play last week. Wildgoose met Anderson’s block with his shoulder and both players went down. As it stands, that will be Wildgoose’s last play in a UW uniform.

Wildgoose was the team’s top cornerback and its most versatile. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard used him both on the outside and in the slot. After Wildgoose was injured against the Wildcats, redshirt junior cornerback Faion Hicks took over the slot role while Semar Melvin and Donte Burton manned the outside spot opposite Caesar Williams.

UW’s remaining schedule includes games against No. 12 Indiana, Iowa, another Big Ten opponent to be determined and likely a bowl game.

Those games will happen within the next five weeks, so it’s possible Wildgoose wouldn’t have been able to play again this season after the injury and he decided to get a jump-start on draft preparations. Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa did something similar in the 2018 college football season.

Get to know the Badgers' 2021 recruits

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