INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Wisconsin football team is over 85% vaccinated from COVID-19, according to coach Paul Chryst.
Speaking with local reporters Friday at the Big Ten Conference football media days, Chryst said there was an instant surge of vaccination among his players once shots were available, and their total has climbed over 85% over the summer.
“We have something now that we didn’t have (last year),” Chryst said. “We’re part of something bigger, which is the university and how their approach is going to be and then we’ll be in line with it.
“I think you’re seeing it now in the NFL. There’s a benefit to having it from just the logistics of all the day-to-day and the week-to-week will be. I think our guys get that, too.”
Chryst wasn’t sure of the exact vaccination rate of his players, but knew it was over 85%.
NFL guidelines are more lax for teams above the 85% threshold, but neither college football nor the Big Ten have universal protocols for teams above or below certain vaccination rates.
“I believe each person has the right and the ability to make the best choice for them,” Chryst said. “This is an interesting one because there’s personal choices that really probably don’t affect another person, and then there’s personal choice when you’re part of a team … that impact things.”
Chryst said when he’s had players hesitant to get vaccinated, he’s attempted to find out why and help them gather information to make their choice.
UW had three games canceled last season due to COVID-19, two from a team outbreak early in the season and another stemming from Minnesota’s late-season outbreak. Chryst was among the 32 people in the program to catch the virus amid the outbreak.
The Badgers open training camp on Aug. 6 and have their first game against Penn State on Sept. 4 at Camp Randall Stadium.
Get to know the Wisconsin Badgers' 2022 football recruiting class
Myles Burkett became the Badgers’ first Class of 2022 recruit when he announced his decision in January.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Franklin is a three-star recruit per 247Sports and Rivals, and showed great mobility and arm strength in his junior season. He battled back from a knee injury as a sophomore to throw for 1,236 and 11 touchdowns and rush for 180 yards and a score in a pandemic-shortened season.
He’s the first in-state quarterback to earn a scholarship out of high school since 2011.
As his recruiting stock started to rise, the Badgers were able to secure a commitment from Fall Rivers’ Barrett Nelson in late June.
The offensive tackle was 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds after his junior season, and his quickness off the ball has made him a load on both the offensive and defensive lines. Nelson is a three-star recruit per 247Sports and a two-star on Rivals.
He had offers from Iowa State, Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue and others before choosing UW.
Nelson’s father, Todd, was a Badgers offensive lineman in the late 1980s, and his brother, Jack, is currently an offensive lineman for UW.
After wowing UW coaches at a pair of camps, Monroe tight end JT Seagreaves accepted a scholarship offer in late June.
Seagreaves is an intriguing prospect for the Badgers — at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, he has the physical frame to grow into an imposing tight end, and he possesses sprinter speeds. He’s averaged more than 21 yards per catch each of the past two seasons and was starting to gain more Power Five conference interested when he committed to UW.
Seagreaves is a three-star recruit per 247Sports and a two-star according to Rivals.
In multiple trips to UW’s campus in June, Cade Yacamelli was called “a football player” by UW coaches rather than locking him into a position. He earned a scholarship offer after an impressive camp workout and accepted it in late June.
The consensus three-star athlete was starting to earn more recruiting attention from Power Five schools when he accepted the Badgers’ offer. UW was the first Power Five offer for the 6-foot, 200-pounder. He’s played receiver, running back and defensive back in high school, but likely projects as a receiver or defensive back in college.
The Penn Trafford High School product has good quickness and change-of-direction that make him dangerous with the ball in his hands.
When A’Khoury Lyde accepted a UW scholarship offer in late June, he became the first player on the defensive side of the ball to commit in the 2022 class.
Lyde (5-foot-11, 170 pounds), a consensus three-star recruit, has strong ball skills and a willingness to hit that separates him from other cornerbacks.
The Wayne, New Jersey, native is the eighth-ranked player in his state, per Rivals.