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Alec James: 2013 Wisconsin Football Recruiting Class

The Brookfield East star recommitted to Gary Andersen and the new Wisconsin regime on Wednesday after being courted heavily by Oregon and Michigan State.

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Alec James (left) was named Wisconsin's High School Defensive Player of the Year this past season.
Alec James (left) was named Wisconsin's High School Defensive Player of the Year this past season.
225 lbs
Composite Ranking
Brookfield (WI) East HS
3 stars (#448 overall - #22 ATH)

Go to Wisconsin Football Recruiting Hub >>

When Alec James officially reaffirmed his commitment to Wisconsin on Wednesday, Badger Nation collectively breathed a sigh of relief. After meeting with Gary Andersen and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to look at film of what Wisconsin's new defensive schemes might look like, James couldn't say no to the home state school. Aranda has made it clear to James that he is the prototype hybrid rush end/outside linebacker for the 3-4 schemes the staff hopes to incorporate into the existing Badger defense.

With the speed of a running back (a position he also played at East), ESPN rated James as the 29th overall defensive end prospect and top overall recruit in Wisconsin in his class. His high school coach gushed about his natural talent early in his senior year:

"He's a rare package. He's a freak athlete," said Swittel, who was hired at East in 2010. "You're talking about a 6-4, 225-pound kid that is stronger than hell. And fast. This is my 34th year of coaching and I've never had anybody like him.

"On top of that, he's just a tremendous football player. Some guys are athletes and they are fast and strong and can jump, but can't play. Alec is someone with those athletic qualities that can do all of those things, but also is a hell of a football player."

Rankings Rankings

Rivals: (#18 WDE - #2 in WI)
Scout: (#64 DE)
ESPN: 82 (#29 DE - #1 in WI)
24/7: 88 (#32 ATH - #4 in WI)

Verbal commitment Verbally committed August 6, 2012

Bret Bielema's move to Arkansas with Charlie Partridge had a big effect on James. He was one of UW's most heavily contacted recruits even after verballing in August. Once the coaching changes went down in December, James announced he wanted to keep his options open and take some official visits elsewhere.

Michigan State had been a major player in James' recruitment prior to his verbal, and he was not shy in voicing his affinity for the Spartans. James also took a visit to Oregon on Jan. 11 and loved it, prompting him to spurn Michigan State's overtures and a late run by Arkansas to focus on Wisconsin and Oregon. Thankfully for Wisconsin, former Oregon coach Chip Kelly brought defensive coordinator Mark Helfrich with him when he moved to the NFL, which may have ultimately tipped the scales back in the Badgers' favor as January wore on.

James was adamant that he never decommitted from Wisconsin, but was simply open to other schools. He now knows for sure that Wisconsin is a great fit for him, picking the Badgers over additional offers from Arizona State, Clemson, Illinois, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, TCU, and Vanderbilt:

"It's the right place for me and I think Andersen has something special going on," James said.

Multimedia Video Highlights

Statistics Statistics

Senior: 97 tackles, 25 TFLs, 11 sacks
Junior: 86 tackles, 21 TFLs, 12.5 sacks

Honors Honors

2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl selection
2012 WFCA State Defensive Player of the Year
2012 First Team All-State
2011 First Team All-State