This may better offseason fodder, but Wisconsin football's 2014 recruiting class could prove pivotal to the long-term health of the program. The Badgers haven't flourished on the recruiting trail from their two Rose Bowls as much as I hoped. The mass exodus of coaches after the Oregon game left the program somewhat rudderless around signing day, and a lack of scholarships due to Bielema's proclivity to redshirt everybody made the 2012 and 2013 classes abnormally small. The Class of 2014 will be the biggest infusion of young talent Wisconsin has had since the 2010 class.
With a return to normal numbers and a stable coaching staff in place, 2014 should theoretically be the first time we see Wisconsin reap the benefits of their recent success. And indeed the class is off to a hot, early start. Milwaukee Marquette defensive end Conor Sheehy* committed to the Badgers Wednesday, joining quarterback Chance Stewart and offensive linemen Jaden Gault and George Panos.
Sheehy is big--6'4, 260 pounds as a junior in high school--so a move to tackle isn't out of the question if he keeps growing. He also had an early offer from Michigan, which means a lot considering how well that staff has been scouting and recruiting lately. Sheehy racked up 80 tackles with six sacks as a sophomore last season, and looks sufficiently fearsome on tape. With commitments from arguably one of the top QBs in the nation and two big, mold-able linemen, Wisconsin couldn't be much happier with their start.
Sustained success on the field will be the key to keeping the big-time commitments rolling. If Wisconsin regains their groove this season and keeps it going through 2013, we could perhaps see the Badgers recruiting at a higher level than every before. In which case, Rose Bowls for everybody! (Maybe).
*The State Journal spelled his name with two N's. I went with the Rivals database for the spelling.
Brian Bennett says Wisconsin's looking to return to their explosive ways. Well, duh.
Mike Fiammetta talks to Building The Dam about the Badgers.
The most disturbing thing about last week, outside of the game itself, were player rumblings that the team could have worked harder in practice. David Gilbert says they have been finishing out practice better this week.
OTE's Power Rankings this week, as it is most weeks, is themed around something I've never seen before. Wisconsin lands at No. 4 for the uninitiated.
Kenzel Doe is proud to make catches over the middle for the Badgers.
Oregon State's defense was pretty terrible last season, you guys.
A nice profile on Jordan Kohout's decision to hang up his cleats, and his role with the team now.
Matt Krueger wants you to call him for travel tips getting to and around Portland.
Pre-Snap Read ranks the Big Ten as the third best conference in the nation, and tabs Montee Ball at No. 3 on his Heisman watch despite a somewhat ho-hum outing.
The Classical on "Paterno", the new Joe Posnanski book.
Land-Grant Holyland gives a very thorough look at Chicago's original Big Ten Team.
This Week In Schadenfreude is necessary reading, always.
Wrapping up: Russell Wilson is the greatest, written by some guy.