Badger Bits: Wisconsin loses out on Rohan Blackwood, Uriah Leiataua

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Is the early shine of Gary Andersen's first recruiting class wearing off?

Rohan Blackwood decommits

Three-star, Brooksville, Fla., defensive end Rohan Blackwood decommitted from Wisconsin on Monday, and regardless of whether academics were at play, the loss is a big one for the Badgers. Wisconsin expected Blackwood to strengthen the future of its pass rush, very likely alongside linebackers Leon Jacobs and Alec James.

More broadly, the loss drops Wisconsin to No. 31 in 247 Sports' team rankings. The 2014 class now has 24 members and three known defensive ends. As 247's Evan Flood lays out in a nice roundup piece ($), losing Blackwood also boosts the importance of two-star athlete TJ Edwards, who flipped from Western Michigan in early December. At 6'1, 220 pounds, the two-star prospect is widely considered a versatile sleeper that could fit into a variety of spots on Wisconsin's defense, as B5Q's Andrew Rosin wrote after his flip.

Edwards, who committed to Western Michigan on June 10, was one of the unofficial visitors to Madison Saturday and was only too happy to flip from the Broncos. His Hudl profile shows that the Badgers may have found themselves a sleeper in the two-star Edwards. He has the athleticism to make defenders miss at the high school level as a spread quarterback, plus he shows a willingness to close and hit as a safety, though the expectations are that Edwards will join Rohan Blackwood as an outside linebacker for this class.

In short, he may be the intriguing Leon Jacobs-type that grows from this class.

Uriah Leiataua commits to Stanford

In looking at how the Badgers might close out their 2014 class, we expected three-star, Compton, Calif., defensive end Uriah Leiataua would be heavily in the fold. Wisconsin was on him from the beginning, and back in December, Leiataua said his favorite visit ($) was to Madison. Alas, Leiataua committed to Stanford on Monday.

With Blackwood out, losing out on Leiataua stings even more. It remains to be seen how the Badgers might compensate for the perceived lack of pass rushers, as the staff likes Edwards and also has commitments from defensive ends Conor Sheehy and Billy Hirschfeld, along with linebacker Dominic Cizauskas. There's still time to explore the options, but don't be surprised if Wisconsin is mostly set with pass rushers.

Notes:

Recent Louisville decommit and three-star Fort Lauderdale, Fla., wide receiver George Rushing has the Badgers in his top five along with (in no order) Louisville, LSU, TCU and Wake Forest. He's expected to visit Madison this weekend.

Three-star Hyattsville, Md., wide receiver Chris Jones starred at the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Tampa last week. The 6'3 wideout hauled in three touchdowns in the first half, including a 79-yarder.

Four-star Chanhassen, Minn., offensive tackle and top Badgers target Frank Ragnow added a recent offer from North Carolina, apparently for basketball.

Links:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Badgers' rebounding could be Achilles' heel

Wisconsin State Journal: Tom Oates: UW's winning streak can't match Walter Meanwell's program in early 1900s

Racine Journal Times: For Bo Ryan, humble start led to great success

Fox Sports Wisconsin: Bo's Badgers one of nation's best in points per possession

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