Wautoma native and former Wisconsin Badger wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in round 5 of the 2014 NFL draft on Saturday.
Abbrederis led Wautoma to the state championship at quarterback as a senior, before moving to receiver after walking on in Madison.
Abbrederis would later earn a scholarship and go on to climb into a tie for first in school history in receptions, while also finishing his career second in receiving yards and touchdowns.
Abbrederis is the first Badger drafted the Packers since OL Bill Ferrario in 2001.
“There’s a lot going through my head," said Abbrederis after being drafted by the Packers. "Being a walk-on at Wisconsin, and being able to have my dream to play in the NFL and on the Packers, my team, that’s the team I rooted for. I’m just excited to be a part of the organization.”
“I love Jared’s versatility,” Packers WR coach Edgar Bennett said. “He can play inside and outside. He can also jump in and do returns. He’ll have a great opportunity to come in and earn it. He’s coming from a great program right down the road, so we’re excited about that.”
Abbrederis may have started as a walk-on but he earned everything he got while ascending to stardom at Wisconsin. He jumped on the pro radar in September hauling in 10 catchers for 207 yards and a TD against first-round pick CB Bradley Roby of Ohio State.
"His first couple of years, he did everything but sell hot dogs down there," said Packers GM Ted Thompson. "He did all the returning on kicks and punts, and then you watch him play his junior and senior year and every game they played, the opponents in the Big Ten, quality corners are on him and he still gets open, he still catches the ball and he still runs with it."
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he was excited the team finally drafted a Wisconsin Badgers player for the first time since he arrived in Green Bay.
"I just want him to be treated like everyone else," said McCarthy after the draft. "And not to feel the pressure from in the state."