I listened to and read a lot of what Bret Bielema had to say Wednesday, but this quote particularly caught my eye:
"We didn't have one kid waffle based on our season, which speaks volumes of what kind of people they are. They really took the attitude that they can come in and change things."
First off, nice use of the word "waffle", but unfortunately Bielema comes off sounding like a British definition of the word: "to waffle"–verb,
to talk foolishly or without purpose; idle away time talking (Dictionary.com).
Mmm, waffles sound pretty good right now.
I wonder, Bret, how do you know that none of the kids "waffled" based on your 7-6 season? Are you talking about just the kids who actually signed with you? Because the kids who didn't sign with Wisconsin not only waffled, they enjoyed an entire brunch with a different school Wednesday morning. And you're really telling me that none of the kids who signed with you didn't at least think twice about signing with the guy who once called timeout to set up a game-winning field goal for the other
I sincerely doubt that there was absolutely zero waffling after a 7-6 season.
And with that, I'm seriously going to go make myself some waffles--Eggo style.
Anyway, I want to wrap up Signing Day with my thoughts on some of Wisconsin's top recruits, so here we go:Kraig Appleton (WR, 6-4, 200, East St. Louis)
The "steal" of the class, Appleton could have a shot at seeing playing time next season.Upside
: No. 19 wide receiver by Scout.com, all-state in hurdles.Downside
: Only had 28 receptions for 657 yards last season after notching 48 catches for 900 yards as a junior.Montee Ball (RB, 5-11, 215, Timberland, Wentzville, Mo.)
Rivals.com ranks Ball the No. 33 running back in the nation. With P.J. Hill gone, Ball likely opens the season as UW's No. 3 back.Upside
: Averaged 8.26 yards per carry, while scoring 107 touchdowns in high school.Downside
: Not much. Height? Maybe.Jon Budmayr (QB, 6-1, 185, Marian Catholic Central, Woodstock, Ill.)
Ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in Illinois, Budmayr joins last year's top QB recruit, Curt Phillips, giving Badgers fans hope behind center.
: Ranked as the 17th-best pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com.Downside
: Dustin Scherer was ranked the 14th-best pro-style quarterback out of high school.Jeff Duckworth (WR, 6-0, 195, Princeton, Cincinnati)
His resume isn't great, but there was a lot of talk about this guy Wednesday.
Bielema loves him.Downside
: Bielema loves him.
A.J. Fenton (LB, 6-2, 215, McDowell, Erie, Pa.)
I like Fenton a lot. He played some running back in high school too.Upside
: Ranked by Scout.com as the 14th-best middle linebacker in the country.Downside
: He's not the 13th-best middle linebacker.David Gilbert (DL, 6-4, 220, Jamaica)
Nice get mon. Wisconsin needed to amp up its defensive line and Gilbert should be in the mix. Originally from Jamaica, Gilbert played high school ball at Northeast, in Oakland Park, Fla.Upside:
No. 12 defensive end in the nation, according to Rivals.com
He's not on the Jamaican bobsled team.
Shelby Harris (DL, 6-4, 240, Homestead, Milwaukee)
As far as I'm concerned, the D-line can use all the help it can get. Like Gilbert, Harris--the No. 2 player in Wisconsin--should get a chance to play early.Upside
: No. 16 defensive end in the nation, according to Rivals.comDownside
: Grandfather played basketball at NorthwesternJordan Kohout (DL, 6-4, 260, Waupun, Wis.)
See: Gilbert, David and Harris, Shelby, above.
No. 17 defensive tackle in the nation according to Rivals.com and the only UW recruit named to the US Army All-American Team.Downside
: Grandfather and uncle played basketball at UW-Platteville, but not for Bo Ryan.Conor O'Neill (LB, 6-1, 200, St. Thomas Aquinas, Delray Beach, Fla.)
As far as hype goes, O'Neill greatly benefited from playing on the No. 1 team in the country and also having another guy named Conor O'Neal orally commit to Wisconsin before backing out.Upside:
He was 1st team All-state while captaining his team to the 2008 state and national championships.Downside:
He's only the No. 72-ranked linebacker in the country according to Rivals.comBrian Wozniak (TE, 6-5, 230, Loveland, Ohio)
The next great product from Tight End U?
Ranked the No. 38 tight end by ESPN.com
Grandfather and uncle played football at Notre Dame
As you can probably tell, I don't put a whole lot of stock in these "rankings". To me this just another Wisconsin recruiting class--good, not great. We'll see how it all plays out, four years from now. The fans don't seem particularly happy, but I think the ESPN.com poll (see post below
) reflects more on Badgers fans displeasure with the program right now and not on the 24 kids that committed to the University of Wisconsin Wednesday.