Even after a lackluster NFL Draft weekend -- just in terms of the number of Badgers drafted, five -- the UW program remains in good shape. After all, if five former UW players drafted is "lackluster," isn't that a pretty good statement to recruits?
Catching up with...
Auden Tate: We've discussed Tate a few times. At 6'4, the four-star receiver from Tampa is worth chasing -- especially since he's already expressed some love for the Big Ten. Yet, the consensus here has been something along the lines of "well, let's wait until Florida/Florida State offer." That happened over the weekend, as Tate announced an offer from the Gators with a ton of excitement. His 247 Sports Crystal Ball hasn't swayed, but with a list of offers including Clemson, Louisville, Kentucky, Miami, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and more, the Badgers will have stiff competition, even if they are expected to make the top-10 Tate reveals later this summer.
Aca'Cedric Ware: We introduced Ware late last week as a Cedar Hill, Texas, running back that is already receiving a ton of interest from the Big Ten. Wisconsin offered last Wednesday, and Ware admitted over the weekend that UW's interest was kind of surprising ($). Getting him on the record could be a good thing in the way of setting expectations; while saying he hasn't determined any leaders, Ware added that Wisconsin's "up there" and he won't count them out yet. That's a good thing for the Badgers, of course, as Ware's already shown an ability to run between the tackles even at his size (5'11, 180 pounds).
Ryan Davis: Drew broke down the Badgers' chances at the 5'11, Saint Petersburg, Florida, receiver last week as follows: "The Badgers are currently a longshot for Davis' services, but they also offered later than most other schools, so keep an eye on Davis throughout the summer." Over the weekend, Davis added an offer from Michigan State, and reiterated that his recruitment is still wide-open. 247's Crystal Ball, however, remains 100% toward FSU.
Jordan Griffin: Wisconsin offered Griffin, a 6'0, 207-pound linebacker from Seffner, Florida, last week. Bigger schools are just now catching onto Griffin, as aside from Wisconsin he has offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Purdue, Tulane and Utah, among others. Over the weekend, Griffin said the Badgers' offer ($) was "big for me," and that "Wisconsin is up there with how they play." On the field, Griffin might be a tad undersized to play inside linebacker, but he has some impressive cover skills to warrant UW's interest. This is one race to keep an eye on.
Brandon McIlwain: This four-star, dual-threat 2016 quarterback from Newton, Pennsylvania, is starting to draw significant interest. Wisconsin offered last week, following a string of the same from West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Tennessee. Penn State, naturally, is pushing hard for McIlwain, tough he did tell 247 over the weekend he was "definitely interested" in Wisconsin ($). One particularly interesting comment: McIlwain's already going as far as to say "They utilize the dual-threat quarterback well." Could it be that recruits are already catching onto the aspirations of Gary Andersen and Andy Ludwig, even before the supposed Tanner McEvoy/D.J. Gillins era so many fans are waiting for?
Wisconsin's push out west continued Friday when Andersen offered Sandy (Alta), Utah, safety Quinn Fabrizio. The 6'3, 205-pound 2015 tight end is favoring ($) Utah, Utah State and Wisconsin, plus possibly Stanford if an offer comes. Fabrizio has an an off-the-field relationship with Austin Kafentzis, which should only help the Badgers' chances here, of course. The highlights on Fabrizio's Hudl profile showcase impressive range, ball skills and the ability to finish tackles. With the Badgers still awaiting their first defensive commit for 2015 and more offers likely to come for Fabrizio, this is definitely another race to watch.
Aside from Kafentzis and Fabrizio, other Utah prospects the Badgers are after include Herriman offensive tackle Andre James and Brighton linebacker Osa Masina. Both made Andrew's post-spring big board he put together in April, and James also received an Army All-American Game invite last week.
Elsewhere, the Badgers offered three-star Carmel, Indiana, athlete Isaac James last week. James had the second-highest SPARQ score at the Nike Football Training Camp in Chicago on April 12, and you can see highlights from his performance there at the 1:16, 1:59 and 3:52 marks here. The Badgers are indeed recruiting him as a cornerback. With Indiana, Illinois, Army, Navy and a few MAC schools as competition, Wisconsin could be in good shape here.