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College Football Insider Has Details On Graham Mertz's Status

Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz, a rising Big Ten star, on Saturday.

MADISON, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 07: Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Camp Randall Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Wisconsin football starting quarterback Graham Mertz had one of the best season debuts imaginable on Friday night. He completed 20-of-21 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns, a near perfect game in the 45-7 win over Illinois.

The football world took quick notice. Mertz popped up on some Heisman watch lists, and with dynamic quarterback play, Wisconsin started to look like a much more interesting team than most assumed. Badgers great JJ Watt was pretty impressed with Friday night's outing.

Fast forward a few days, and we don't know exactly when we'll see him play for the Badgers again. On Sunday, he tested positive for COVID-19. According to reports, he feels fine, which is obviously good news.

College football insider Dennis Dodd reports that Mertz's positive test was confirmed by another PCR test. Because of the Big Ten's protocols, Mertz is now expected to be out for 21 days. It is a massive blow to the Badgers, coming off of an incredibly impressive first game.

"Mertz will also have to undergo extensive cardiac testing to investigate any long-term conditions that could arise from COVID-19 including myocarditis," Dodd reports. Wisconsin hasn't confirmed the positive test thus far.

Wisconsin football travels to Nebraska this weekend. They face Purdue at home, and travel to face No. 13 Michigan over the two following weeks. Mertz is expected to miss those three games.

The quarterback situation is even worse than the Graham Mertz absence on its own, as well. Jack Coan, who Mertz supplanted as starter, is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Third stringer Chase Wolf has also tested positive, though his second test results haven't been reported yet. As of now, it looks like fourth-stringer Danny Vanden Boom will be in line to play. He redshirted in 2017, and completed his only pass attempt of his career for a touchdown in 2018, during a game against New Mexico. He did not play in 2019.

[CBS Sports]