Badgers lose WR/KR Aron Cruickshank to transfer

Wisconsin is losing another playmaker.

As first reported by 247Sports, wide receiver/kick returner Aron Cruickshank has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal.

The move is a bit of a surprise as Cruickshank had really taken to his returner role, taking two kickoffs back for touchdowns, while also seeing an expanded role on offense, including some work as the quarterback in the wildcat.

But time at wide receiver was not easy to come by for the 5-foot-9, 161-pound Cruickshank. He was buried on the depth chart, with A.J. Taylor, Quintez Cephus, Danny Davis, Kendric Pryor, Adam Krumholz and Jack Dunn all seeing more playing time than him this season. Even with Taylor’s career coming to an end and Cephus declaring for the NFL draft, there was no guarantee that Cruickshank would see extended time at the position.

It is worth noting, though, that wide receiver coach Ted Gilmore did seem to believe at the Rose Bowl that Cruickshank would be around in the spring when he was asked about him.

“We need AC to take the next step,” Gilmore said. “He’s one of those that has to become more than just a situational guy.”

Cruickshank finished his time in Madison with 189 yards rushing and two touchdowns, along with four catches for 40 yards. He also averaged 24.6 yards per return on 49 kickoffs with two scores.

His departure comes on the heels of running back Jonathan Taylor and Cephus leaving early for the NFL. The trio combined for 36 touchdowns this season. It does, however, leave an opening for several other young wide receivers to step up, including Taj Mustapha and A.J. Abbott.