Perception can mess with a recruiting watcher real easily. You can have a prospect that kind of likes your school, and you're glad for it, because the dude is good. But he always seems to leave your school on the outside looking in, and you don't think they're coming.
Then he announces a top five and mirabole dictu, you're in a top five you're not supposed to be. More than that, the prospect's coming to visit ... until he isn't, because he's tired. And he doesn't think he's going to reschedule, so you finish fourth. In one way, you're surprised you got there. But because it's timed on the week he was supposed to visit, it stings a little bit more.
Yes, this is all about Osa Masina effectively ruling out Wisconsin this week. Either way, Masina's gonna be good for somebody. As for us, we've got news, and maybe a view or two. Your mileage may vary on the usefulness of it.
Jordan Stevenson: You might've seen reports of how Brian Cole loved his visit to Madison and he can absolutely see himself being the lightning to Corey Clement's thunder next season. Let's not forget about the four-star running back and Texas commit from Dallas (South Oak Cliff). We all remember that Stevenson had a good visit for the South Florida game, but as is Stevenson's wont, the recruiting went quiet. At least, that was until 247Sports' Ryan Bartow reported that not only did Stevenson enjoy his time in Madison, a flip between Thanksgiving and Christmas ($) is a real possibility.
This means nothing in terms of Cole's recruitment, as Cole has the versatility to play anywhere he wants to. Wisconsin's not going to pass on a top-50 athlete just because another four-star prospect just might buy into what it's selling -- though if the Badgers somehow do end up with both Cole and Stevenson, it puts a couple of roadblocks to the field in front of Davon Crookshank.
But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. As it stands now, the Badgers' second running back for 2015 looks like he's either going to be a former Michigan commit or a former Texas commit. That's just major right there.
Jay Irvine: This Sandalwood, Fla., athlete, three-star cornerback prospect and Florida A&M commit was rumored to be making a visit to Madison this weekend. It turns out that while Irvine seems highly intrigued by a quality FBS offer and has Wisconsin as the favorite if the flip's coming -- and considering that Purdue just joined the party, it seems as if Irvine will not be spending his college days in the FCS -- the Badgers are going to have to wait for the Nebraska game to close the deal on this 6-footer with good ball skills and relations to D.J. Gillins and Javarius Davis.
Javarius Davis: Speaking of Davis, upon learning of his cousin getting an offer to the Badgers, he tweeted this:
Me & my cousin @Jay_underrated1 could be playing together next year at Wisconsin— G.O.E (@javariusdavis1) October 19, 2014
Sweet, right? The elbow grease worked and the Badgers could well be getting that prospect they've worked so hard to get and everything will be okay and...
Not to cast any standard aspersions on this turn of events -- Georgia's a great school, and a Jacksonville native getting a World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party every season he's in college is definitely a feature and not a bug -- but if you were one of those watchers? For a moment, it seemed like the Badgers made a move for a prospect they never really had a chance at.
Jordan Griffin: This has been one of those recruitments that has lengthened. Though usually it's a bad sign when someone who you expect to be joining your roster hasn't quite yet, there hasn't been any word of any school that seems to stick for Griffin. When you're traveling to a school 1,300-plus miles away, it is best to slow it down and take full consideration as to the fact that this is what you want to do. Nothing wrong with that.
That being said, Griffin is making plans to announce his commitment on Saturday and all signs still point to him joining up for the Badgers in 2015.
Antonio Williams: I know Badger fans have been excited that this 2016 four-star running back prospect from North Carolina was coming to Madison this weekend. But along the way, the plans have changed and Williams won't make it. Now, before you look at this as some kind of sad moment or disaster sign like Osa Masina, remember that this was going to be an unofficial visit. Williams and his family would be paying their own way, and if we worried about how unofficial visits affected the state of play for a prospect, Brian Cole wouldn't be the top target for the Badgers. it's just the news as it is.
CB Jessie Liptrot
6'0, 175 lbs.
Neptune Beach (Duncan U. Fletcher), Fla.
I know what you're thinking: Why are the Badgers tossing out offers to cornerbacks? Aren't they in the lead for Isaac James? For one thing, the strategy of short, quick and aggressive cornerbacks has led to some big plays hit off UW's secondary. Considering that most of the good receivers in the Big Ten are taller, you're going to find a need to to grab someone lankier, especially if James is going to work the process.
Truth be told, when you're looking at Liptrot's Hudl profile, you can't believe that he seems to have fallen somewhat through the cracks.
This prospect has some ridiculous change-of-direction skills, and he can pluck the ball out of the air. I'm not going to try and tell you that he's been playing man-to-man, press coverage, but as it stands right now, he doesn't need as much projection as James does. And I'll be honest: as a centerfield free safety, he could be a major-conference al-conference talent. Like, he closes faster than the awkwardness of this sentence.
Give him time, he could well be a major player at cornerback. If Wisconsin beats out Louisville, North Carolina, Purdue and Georgia Southern for his services, it'd be a good thing.
Austin Kafentzis hype train update
Wisconsin's QB hopeful of the future threw for 494 yards, ran for 196 more and scored 10 total touchdowns vs. Brighton (Osa Masina's school) last Friday. Sweet! Here are the highlights: