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Badgers go deep at tight end spot

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THOMAS J. MILLER
August 1, 2008

University of Wisconsin tight end Travis Beckum is considered an elite tight end in college football for the upcoming season.


To the consternation of opponents, the Badger coaching staff considers Beckum’s backups, Garrett Graham and Lance Kendricks, almost as much of a threat.


Graham probably is the best Badger offensive player that no one knows. The 6-foot-4, 227-pound junior was the second-leading receiver on the Badgers last year with 30 catches for 324 yards and four touchdowns.


When Beckum was held to two catches for 22 yards by Tennessee in the Outback Bowl loss to Tennessee, Graham led the Badgers with seven catches for 75 yards. No other Badger had more than three catches.


“The greatest complement we have for Travis right now is Garrett,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said of the New Jersey native. “Garrett is a very, very talented football player, and people aren’t aware of that.”


And when both Beckum and Graham missed spring practice, Kendricks stepped into the picture.


Kendricks, a 6-4, 227-pound sophomore out of Milwaukee Rufus King High, played mainly on the scout teams as a red-shirt freshman last year. He impressed Bielema during spring drills.


“Lance is probably the one guy that I’m excited to see going into fall camp,” Bielema said last week at the Big Ten Conference media session.


“He was a guy that reaped the awards of Travis and (backup tight end Garrett) Graham being out (during the spring). He got so many reps and improved so much.”


The trick is getting enough passes to the trio, who switch between the tight end and H-back positions.


Bielema leaves that up to Paul Chryst, the team’s offensive coordinator.


“Paul Chryst is very creative,” Bielema said.



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