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Badger Bits: Wisconsin brings in quality, but leaves room to spare

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Quarterback Bart Houston is one of the prize pickups in a class that is short on numbers by high in quality.
Quarterback Bart Houston is one of the prize pickups in a class that is short on numbers by high in quality.

Off Tackle Empire put out a rough 2012 B1G recruiting standings based on the composite rankings of 24/7, Scout and Rivals. Not surprisingly, Michigan and Ohio State took the top spots in the conference after pulling in consensus Top 10 classes. Then there's a cliff. Only Nebraska's class cracked the Top 25 in any of the major recruiting services. Michigan State snuck in the Top 40, Iowa came in around that mark, and a mass exodus from Happy Valley to Columbus dropped Penn State all the way to 6th in the conference. Suffice it to say, the SEC we are not (this year, at least).

Wisconsin's class is either low (8th in-conference by Rivals) or really low (11th by Scout and 24/7) on the totem pole depending on whose altar you worship. Quality isn't the issue. The Badgers took in four 4-star recruits according to Rivals, and five according to Scout, which is tied with Nebraska and more than anyone not named Michigan or Ohio State. The problem is size. With just 12 letters of intent faxed in on National Signing Day, Wisconsin came in roughly dead last in the FBS.

By my count, Wisconsin has 15 scholarship seniors leaving the program. Factor in kids that won't opt to take a fifth year, or those that may not be with the program next year due to more dubious reasons, and then you start to wonder why more kids weren't taken on scholarship. There is no doubt that coaching upheaval played a role, but it is still strange that UW wasn't able to find bodies because the simple truth is that the team is going to need them.

In the short term, things look okay. The Badgers have a lot of holes to plug for next season, but you generally don't want to fill those with true freshman talent anyway. Down the road, the lack of numbers could hurt. Rarely does a class make it one year without defections, much less four, and to think that this team could be down to just seven or eight 4th/5th-year scholarship seniors in 2016 is slightly terrifying.

Until then, enjoy the avalanche of coverage because, despite its size, this really is a fine haul (Bart-a-palooza '16!).

Thursday's Links:

John did a nice summary of every player in the Class of 2012, with comments from Bielema, of course.

The Wisconsin State Journal was nice enough to put their Signing Day coverage in one spot. There are videos of player interviews and more in depth profiles on all of the latest additions. Highlights include this piece on the work Dan Voltz did to keep the class together.

Leo Musso may grayshirt, meaning he would go on scholarship starting in 2013.

Reggie Love talks about signing with Wisconsin, and the adjustments he'll have to make coming to Madison from Florida.

Walker Williams sang "On Wisconsin" in front of 50 people.

Lots of good stuff from the Journal Sentinel's Q&A with Tom Lemming. Lots of praise for Bart Houston and Vince Biegel. Names D.J. Singleton as the sleeper of the class.

Notes from Jeff Potrykus: Travis Frederick will get the first shot to take over for Peter Konz at center. David Gilbert and Devin Smith are expected to take part in spring practice.

Sort of like another offensive line commitment: Casey Dehn is back in winter conditioning after quitting last season due to disagreements with Bob Bostad.

The date for the Spring Game has been set: April 28, 4:00 p.m. CT, the same day as rounds 4-7 of the 2012 NFL Draft.

EDSBS on Bielema ... just read it.

And in BBall: Wisconsin come in fourth in this week's power rankings from Big Ten Powerhouse, and a breakdown of Tuesday's happenings including the Badgers' win over Penn State.