Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently awaiting confirmation on a second test, a source has confirmed to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. Mertz made a splash on Friday night when he threw for 248 yards, five touchdowns and only tossed one incompletion in the season-opening 45-7 win over Illinois.
Should the positive result be confirmed via results of the ensuing PCR test, Mertz will be required to sit out for three weeks according to the coronavirus protocols instituted by the Big Ten upon its return to play. He will also have to undergo extensive cardiac testing to investigate any long-term conditions that could arise from COVID-19 including myocarditis.
The absence of Mertz would put enormous pressure on redshirt sophomore backup Chase Wolf. Wisconsin will play at Nebraska, vs. Purdue and at No. 13 Michigan over the next three weeks. Wolf completed the only pass he attempted last season — a three-yarder in the 61-0 win over Central Michigan in Week 2.
The arrival of Mertz as a star was enormous for the Badgers, who lost returning starter Jack Coan to a foot injury during fall camp. Mertz was a four-star quarterback and the No. 65 overall player in the Class of 2019, and has been touted as the “quarterback of the future” in Madison since he signed on the dotted line.