Wisconsin Badgers news, 5/16: Is UW a College Football Playoff sleeper?

Scott Halleran

Plus, another Video of the Day for the books.

With Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement in the backfield and Warren Herring, Derek Landisch and Sojourn Shelton manning the defensive side of the ball, what is the potential for Gary Andersen's squad in the coach's second season in Madison? Very, very good. ESPN.com's Travis Haney believes Wisconsin could be a legitimate sleeper to clinch a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff (Insider).

"If that youthful defense Andersen referenced comes together -- and McEvoy's run element pushes the offense to greater things -- they could be a surprise playoff contender."

The Badgers had five former stars selected by NFL teams last weekend, as well as a few undrafted free agents players who landed an invite to rookie mini-camp. This number grew Thursday, with Conor O'Neil earning an invite to the Chicago Bears' mini-camp. O'Neil's linebacking mate, Ethan Armstrong, earned a rookie mini-camp invite with the Atlanta Falcons and will be joined by former quarterback Nate Tice, who is serving as an intern with the Falcons.

Some future NFL'ers could be making their way on campus soon -- at least, that's what Andersen is hoping. Drew checks in on the second-year coach and his staff's due diligence on the recruiting trail, including who recently spurned Wisconsin and who received some new scholarship offers from the red and white. Class of 2015 wide receiver Jalen Christian, who had the Badgers as one of his top schools, choose the ole ball coach and South Carolina on Thursday.

This week's edition of Varsity Magazine highlights the academic successes of various Wisconsin student-athletes as well as their post-graduate plans.

As mentioned in Wednesday's Badger Bits, Bo Ryan extended a scholarship offer to De Pere shooting guard Brevin Pritzl. Marquette joined in on the action on Thursday, offering a scholarship to the class of 2015 prospect. For the incoming freshman class, Bo and the boys received the lowest recruiting grade among Big Ten teams (Insider), per ESPN.com's recruiting grades for the conference.

We're accustomed to seeing Melvin Gordon's name in various 2015 mock drafts, but that wasn't the case with ESPN.com's Todd Mcshay. McShay did not have the running back in his way-too-early mock draft (Insider), instead slotting Georgia's Todd Gurley as the only player from the position to be tabbed in the first round.

Quick Hitters

Wisconsin's softball program is out in Eugene, Oregon, for the opening round of the NCAA tournament, and you can get a glimpse of some behind-the-scenes footage of the team's preparation for Albany. Michelle Mueller did not expect to achieve as much success as she thought in the red and white uniform, but she's been perfectly fine with the outcome.

For the second consecutive year under Andersen, the football team will hold a Football 101 class for women in an effort to raise money and awareness against breast cancer.

BuckAround has a recent podcast on Wisconsin football recruiting and takes an unique angle on the topic.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Herb Kohl officially finalized the sale of the team to two New York billionaires.

Video of the Day

I'm continuing the trip down my collegiate memory lane of sporting events, and there's no better person to focus on to exhibit my college years than quarterback Russell Wilson. There was a decent amount of hype before the Thursday-night game under the lights against UNLV, but the eventual Super Bowl-winning quarterback was cool, calm and collected as per usual. Wilson completed 10-of-13 passes for 255 yards with three scores, including an acrobatic 46-yard scamper. I'll forever be grateful for this gunslinger.

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