Any of you guys ever play the NCAA video games growing up (or in my case, this year, too)? NCAA Football 2003 with Joey Heisman, the precursor to Johnny Football, on the cover was my major introduction to the high-stakes game of college football recruiting.
If these last two sentences haven't proven my Lothariosity, let me assure you that I talked to between one and three girls while in high school.
Back to my point, which is: if you wanted to take a small school and make it into a national powerhouse, the school had to be located in Florida, Texas or California. In video games, and in real life, this is where all the talented high school football players live. Gary Andersen is probably really good at NCAA judging by his most recent round of offers.
Catching up with...
Troy Jeter: Rosin mentioned the possibility of adding the JUCO cornerback to the 2014 class on Wednesday, and the ASA College (NY) product told Badger247 ($) that he was extremely interested in coming to Madison. "[Wisconsin is] my leader," he said, "I like the coaches and their system. I've researched the school and I was always a big fan of the Big Ten." If he qualifies academically, his original problem coming out of high school, he would give the Badgers valuable depth at corner for the next three seasons.
Brandyn Lee: After being offered a scholarship on Tuesday, Lee mentioned ($) that he is planning on visiting Madison sometime over the summer. He wants a school with a mix of academics and athletics (so Minnesota is out, BURN!) He also plans on visiting the Palouse, because who would turn down a chance to hang with Mike Leach for a weekend? His only other offer is Nevada, but Duke is showing a lot of interest in him as well.
Auden Tate: A tall drink of water at 6'4, Tate would be an ideal red-zone target for Joel Sta...Tanner Mc...Aust...look, I'm not trying to start a whole quarterback thing here. He'll be an ideal red-zone target for a QB on any team. There, much better. Tate is on record ($) saying he likes the Big Ten and that Wisconsin has a great chance of making his top-10 list this summer, but as Rosin said, if Florida or Florida State make an offer, this race is probably over.
Everything really is bigger in Texas
With the Badgers switching to a defense that requires a nose tackle to gobble up blockers, finding large dudes is imperative for the defensive coaching staff. One such large dude is former Texas commit Bryce English. Tipping the scales at 315 pounds, the almost 6'0 defensive tackle from DeSoto, Texas, decommited from the Horns in April and has since acquired two new offers; one from TCU and one from UW. If anything can take the sting out of losing a Rose Bowl, it's stealing a massive nose tackle out of Texas from the Horned Frogs. English is a 247 composite three-star and the 53rd-best defensive tackle in the country. You can see on his highlight video that he has a quick first step, moves very well in space for a guy his size, and even BLOCKS KICKS WITHOUT A HELMET! I'm not super interested in much more analysis; I want English in Madison doing cannonballs into Lake Mendota.
Another Texan that the Badgers are interested in is running back Aca'Cedric Ware. He is from Cedar Hills, which Google Maps informs me is right next to DeSoto. I'm assuming if the Badgers sign both of these players, they will also star in some sort of coming-of-age, road-trip-to-Wisconsin style of movie. The Big Ten is going after Ware hard, as his top two schools are Iowa and Ohio State, with Wisconsin, Northwestern and Maryland (weird!) also having offers out to the shifty tailback. He doesn't show breakaway speed in his Hudl profile, but he does show an ability to run well between the tackles, which is nice for a back his size (5'11, 180 pounds).
If you don't mind leaving Texas for a moment, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda went and visited three-star ATH/WR Ryan Davis at Lakewood High School (St. Petersburg, Florida) yesterday. The speedy Davis has 24 offers already, including Miami, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Tennessee and UCF. 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.
Offer List Lightning Round
Deon Cain: Cain is an interesting prospect. He's listed as an athlete, and can play wide receiver or quarter back, but projects as a receiver in college. Cain is rated the eighth-best WR by 247's composite rankings and has offers from Florida State, Florida, Miami, Georgia, Alabama, well, you get the point. He's not coming to Wisconsin, but it's good to get the name out there.
Mark Birmingham: A four-star tight end from Ashburn, Virginia, Birmingham is being courted by UVA, Virginia Tech, Penn State, UNC and Old Dominion. The seventh-rated TE in the nation, Birmingham could use some work on his route-running (what high school tight end couldn't?), but has great hands and an apparent ability to stretch the field.
This Week's Commits
This Week's Commits
Jack Dreyer: A 6'8, 285-pound offensive tackle out of JSerra High School in San Mateo, California, Dreyer seems to be flying under the radars of many big schools so far. Besides Wisconsin, only Colorado, Utah, Oregon State and Washington State have offered him a D1 scholarship. The rest of his "offers" are from Ivy League schools. It must be tough to go through high school super smart and super athletic. I bet he's talked to more than three girls.
Jordan Griffin: Griffin is a three-star inside linebacker from Seffner, Florida. He has a bunch of offers from middle-tier schools, and Purdue, but if bigger schools like Wisconsin start sniffing around, this could be an exciting recruitment. He's a bit undersized at 6'0 and 207 pounds, but he makes up for it with excellent cover skills for a linebacker.
Jalen Merrick: From the school that brought you D'Cota Dixon and probably some other guys comes offensive tackle Jalen Merrick! The 6'5, 295-pound lineman was a teammate of Dixon's last year at New Smyrna Beach High School down in Florida. He is rated as the 41st-best OT in the nation and has offers from Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Ohio State and Indiana (LOL).
Brandon Wilson: The 6'4, 240-pound defensive end from Winter Garden, Florida, could be a bit of a diamond in the rough. He is currently unrated by 247, but his Hudl profile shows some promise. There are a number of schools interested in Wilson, but Wisconsin is the most prestigious to offer him so far. He appears to be leaning toward Mississippi State or UCF.
Rick Wade: Wade is 6'6 and a defensive end. The California product has a wonderful frame for the position and if he can bulk up, he could be a dominant force on a defensive line somewhere in the country. He's got offers from Cal, Washington, Washington State and Boston College.
Carson Lydon: Coming out of Tarpon Springs, Florida, this 6'1, 230-pound linebacker racked up two offers this week. Virginia Tech and UCF are leading the way for Lydon, but Rutgers, Cincinnati and NC State have all made offers as well.
Jonathan Crawford: A bit tall (6'2) to be a safety, Crawford (Largo, Florida) could project as a rush linebacker in college if he bulks up. Take a look at the beginning of his Hudl profile and tell me you don't see some solid pass-rushing ability. He has offers from Louisville, Minnesota, Indiana and Middle Tennessee State, among others.
Donavan Hale: A rangy receiver and teammate of Crawford's out of Largo High (Largo, FL), Wisconsin is in a battle with Louisville (grrr), Minnesota (GRRRR) and Middle Tennessee State (grrr?) currently. He has yet to be rated by 247 in football, but boasts an offer from Florida State... in basketball.
Looking so far into the future you may have been incepted
The Badgers offered two highly touted quarterbacks from the East Coast (B1G COUNTRY, SON) in the 2016 class this week. Brandon McIlwain (Council Rock North, Newton, Pennsylvania) and Dwayne Haskins (The Bullis School, Potomac, Maryland) are both being recruited heavily already,and could only improve their status with good sophomore seasons. McIlwain is a dual-threat guy and is already getting the full-court press from PSU. Haskins is pro-style and is leaning slightly towards Ohio State. But really, who the hell knows? High school kids like to change their minds! Just a couple of quarterbacks to keep an eye on.
Also, I didn't want to bring this up at the beginning of the post, but since Rosin and Mike have allowed me to write a weekly recruiting series with them, the Badgers have picked up two commits. If you think this is a coincidence, then I need you to head back to The Daily Gopher with the rest of the mouth-breathing idiots (the season needs to start so my hate-filled, and often baseless, insults actually mean a little something).