Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. That positive COVID-19 result has since been confirmed with a second test, a source told CBS Sports on Tuesday. As such, Mertz will miss Wisconsin's game against Nebraska this weekend and will be out of action a total of 21 days per Big Ten protocol for COVID-19 positives.
Mertz, who has been touted as the "quarterback of the future" in Madison, Wisconsin, made a splash last Friday night when he threw for 248 yards, five touchdowns and only tossed one incompletion in the season-opening 45-7 win over Illinois.
He will now be required to sit out for three weeks, according to the coronavirus protocols instituted by the Big Ten upon its return to play. Mertz will also have to undergo extensive cardiac testing to investigate any long-term conditions that could arise from COVID-19 including myocarditis.
Wisconsin released a statement on Sunday evening reiterating that it would not release information regarding specific student-athletes. The school has neither confirmed nor denied Mertz's positive test. The school did say that there were no individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 on antigen tests or had related symptoms prior to Friday game.
The absence of Mertz would have put enormous pressure on redshirt sophomore backup Chase Wolf; however, Wolf has also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and is awaiting confirmation of that test. Fourth-stringer Danny Vanden Boom is expected to be the next man up if needed. In his career, Vanden BOom has thrown one pass for 3 yards in a 2018 game against New Mexico.
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.
CBS Sports' Barrett Sallee contributed to this report.
The Cover 3 Podcast discusses Mertz's absence and what Wisconsin will do going forward without him.