Several college D1 players emerged from the area's class of 2016 football players, including projected starters as redshirt sophomores as the group passes the mid-way point of their college careers.
We took a look at all of the Madison-area players who were ranked by WisSports.net, as well as some who made their way to Division 1 college football at some point in their college careers. Some ranked players never suited up for a college program, but a couple of those stories are noted below.
Click on the player's name to see their current college bio or Twitter profile.
Toren Young (Monona Grove), RB, Sophomore at Iowa: Young is stepping into his own as a future star running back for the Hawkeyes. 2018 will mark the second year he's been a part of the team's leadership council. After redshirting in 2016, Young scored two touchdowns in 2017 on 45 carries, and is the top returning running back at Iowa. Iowa's quarterback is Nate Stanley, another Class of 2016 product out of Wisconsin (Menomonie). Toren was the top-ranked area player coming out of high school by WSN and the top running back in the state in his class. (pictured above)
Jack Dunn (Edgewood), WR, Sophomore at Wisconsin: It's an absolutely loaded position group at Wisconsin, but Dunn has been holding his own in practice and that's allowed him to get on the field (eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2017). During one spring practice, he caught four touchdowns.
Zach Kirby (Stoughton), P, Sophomore at Temple: Kirby punted in 2016 at UW-La Crosse, with 35 punts for 1,127 yards (a 32.2 yard average), before transferring to Erie Community College (where he didn't record a punt). He'll be in a four-way battle for the full-time punting job this season with three other walk-ons, all vying to replace a four-year starter at punter at Temple. Kirby was one of the top ten specialists in his senior class coming out of high school.
Michael Gerber (Stoughton), DL, Sophomore at Army: Gerber didn't see any varsity action in 2017, but still has three seasons of eligibility remaining for the program.
Garret Wegner (Lodi), P, Sophomore at North Dakota State: Wegner appeared in six games in 2017 as a redshirt freshman, recording a 32.7 average on three punts and one touchback on 13 kickoffs. He's the only punter listed on the roster, as the starter last year has now graduated, so figure on Wegner getting a boost in playing time for his sophomore campaign. He was the top-rated specialist coming out of high school for his class according to WSN.
Trey Recknor (Mount Horeb/Barneveld), TE/FB, Sophomore at Northern Iowa: Recknor didn't get any stats as a redshirt freshman in 2017, but the pre-med student still has three seasons of eligibility remaining for UNI.
Hunter Toppel (DeForest), OL, Sophomore at Minnesota State-Mankato: After redshirting in 2016, Toppel started all 14 games for the Mavericks as a redshirt freshman, helping pave the way for a school-record 4,036 rushing yards and earning a second-team all-conference bid along the way.
Max Meylor (Mount Horeb/Barneveld), QB, Sophomore at Lindenwood University: Meylor is the second-string quarterback for the second straight year behind senior Majee Jackson. As a freshman, he threw a touchdown pass, a 50-yarder against Northeastern State. Meylor is also a starter for the Lions' basketball program, notching 22 career starts in 50 games, 15 of those starts coming in 2017-18, where he averaged 5.8 points per game (47.5% shooter from long-range).
Johnny McCormick (Waterford), WR, Sophomore at Minnesota-Duluth: McCormick was the state's top receiver coming out of high school, and ended up at UMD. After a redshirt season in 2016, McCormick played in eight games in 2017, hauling in 16 passes for 188 yards, with much of it coming in the final game of the season (6 for 98). He also returned two kicks for 51 yards. As the fourth-leading receiver on the team last year, McCormick should be set for a more prominent role as a sophomore in 2018.
Skyler Kurt (Lodi), DL, Junior at St. Cloud State: Kurt played in all 11 games in 2017, recording 19 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, and forcing one fumble. He figures to be in the rotation again as a junior in 2018. He's majoring in biomedical sciences.
Braden Jorenby (Madison La Follette), DB, Sophomore at Minnesota-Duluth: Jorenby saw action in five games as a redshirt freshman, recording two tackles.
Jadon Sackman (DeForest), RB, Junior at St. Norbert: As a sophomore, Sackman ran for 450 yards on 90 carries in seven games, with three touchdowns on the ground (also catching seven passes for 62 yards). Those rushing totals were all second-best on the team, and Jadon as a junior will be the leading returning rusher to St. Norbert in 2018.
Jacob Erbs (Reedsburg), LB, Junior at UW-Whitewater: Erbs was ranked as one of the top 50 players in his class his senior year in Wisconsin, and is emerging as a defensive stalwart with a knack for making big plays. In 2017, Erbs racked up 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, an interception, and 4.5 tackles for a loss (and a blocked kick), leading the team in every one of those categories except sacks and tackles for a loss. He was also second on the team in tackles.
Patrick O'Leary (Milton), TE, Junior at UW-River Falls: O'Leary caught a touchdown for the Falcons in 2017 against UW-Platteville, one of two catches on the season during his sophomore campaign. Only eight touchdowns were scored through the air at UWRF last season.
Jacob Royston (Waunakee), TE, Sophomore at UW-Whitewater: Royston hasn't seen any playing time yet, but he joins a few other area players now plying their trade at UW-Whitewater
Jack Andringa (Madison Memorial), FB, Junior at St. Thomas: Andringa hasn't recorded a stat yet for the Tommies. He's the son of Rob Andringa, the former Wisconsin Badgers hockey player.
Photo: Getty Images
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