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Wisconsin recruiting: Badgers offer James Allen, Tuf Borland; 3 visits expected for Illinois game

Because nothing calms a fanbase like positive recruiting news.

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Yulee, Fla., running back Jamari Peacock.
Yulee, Fla., running back Jamari Peacock.
Student Sports

So after a week when it was decided there was a need to burn everything down to the ground and start anew with Andy Warhol, it's time to look forward. It's time to go into the future. It's time for that one thing with which there is no way possible that anyone would ever act irrationally.

Yep. It's time to discuss recruiting.

We've been quiet in talking about it for a while, but it happens that way sometimes. News gets slow and with a road game, you don't even have official visits. But, as the old wrestling announcer says, business is about to pick up.

New offers

RB James Allen
Citra, Fla. (North Marion)
5'10, 180 lbs.
3-star recruit3-star recruit3-star recruit

This three-star Citra, Fla., running back and Louisville commit was offered by Wisconsin this week. A dominant first half of his senior season (923 yards, 14 touchdowns and an extra 507 yards of total offense) has brought him onto the radar of several schools in need of a running back, and considering the Badgers aren't on the inside track for a second running back for 2015 alongside Davon Crookshank, you can consider them one.

As for Allen, you can look at his highlight reel and see that this kid can Barry Sanders the heck out of his competition. Obviously, level is something I'm not going to tell you I know the quality of. But the first play is him basically taking a jet sweep, a defensive tackle getting a hand on him, Allen getting loose and taking it for a touchdown. He also runs with an aggressiveness that belies a 5'11, 180-pound frame.

I know what you're saying. Big deal, right? But here's the twist: Louisville already has two other running back commits in Matt Colburn and Trey Smith, and is working hard to get Ke'Shawn Vaughn and/or Tyreik Gray to round out the position. As of now, it makes that sense Allen is looking to take all five of his official visits. Does this mean Wisconsin can win him over and we're just welcoming him now? No. Oklahoma State and West Virginia have also offered, which goes to show that the kid could well grow up to be a faster James White. It also means the Badgers are going to have to give some elbow grease to win him over.

OLB Tuf Borland (2016)
Bolingbrook, Ill.
6'1, 217 lbs.
4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit

Okay, this one falls under "newish," as the offer came on Oct. 1, but still, this 2016 four-star linebacker prospect from Bollingbrook, Ill., has been called the likely first commit of that class. And it makes sense; after all we just saw another Borland dominate the middle for the past few years. And while he shares no relation to Chris Borland, Tuf seems to have that sort of downhill, wade through the trash, good athleticism and hard tackling of his non-familial predecessor. It's enough to make his father, early 1990s Badger Kyle Borland, proud.

News on...

Jamari Peacock: Yes, we're looking ahead to the class of 2017 here. So take this with all the sodium chloride you can muster up, but Jamari Peacock looks to be a future famous prospect person in that he's a sort of a powerful running back who could well become a thumper of note by the time the next president takes the Oval Office.

I know, stick to sports. And going back to it, the Badgers have the super earliest of leads.

Jalen Merrick: For the longest time, the Badgers were looking at having four great offensive-line prospects. Kevin Estes is now ranked a 95 by 247sports, so the committed prospect's pedigree has only grown. Enter Merrick, a four-star guard from New Smyrna Beach, Fla., who will be taking an official visit to Madison for the Nebraska game on Nov. 15.

It's a highly intriguing proposition from a highly intriguing prospect. Here are the reasons why Wisconsin might have a chance: For one, New Smyrna Beach is where the Badgers picked up potential 2015 starting linebacker D'Cota Dixon, who is cousins with Merrick. For two, he's decided to visit Arkansas on Nov. 22. Say what you will about Arkansas, but the previous administration did help get a lot of Wisconsin linemen into the NFL. Badgerball, in some form or fashion, intrigues him.

Merrick is definitely an automatic take for the Badgers. He's a big, strong hoss who can put smaller defenders on skates. If Wisconsin can get him away from Florida, Miami and South Carolina, this will most definitely be a hell of a deal for the Badgers.

This weekend's visitors

This week, expectations are that the Badgers will have at least three visitors. Expectations are also that the Badgers will finally get to 20 commits. It was Aug. 15 when Estes became the 19th commit, so it has been a while. Let's break them down.

Jordan Griffin: There's been no reason to think the Badgers have lost their position as the favorite for the three-star linebacker from Seffner, Fla. In fact, after considering his previous decision to commit at an event on Oct. 12, Wisconsin should add one more linebacker to the class. Again, it may not be a well-kept secret, but Griffin's a great pickup.

Issac James: The three-star athlete from Carmel, Ind., who Wisconsin is recruiting as a cornerback will be taking his first visit to Madison. There's no news in regard to the Badgers losing ground despite the fact that James is also being recruited by Northwestern, but he's planning on visiting both Missouri and Northwestern when the season ends. Considering he just athleted the hell out of traditional Indiana power Ben Davis, it might take longer than this chilly fall Saturday for James to have a final answer.

Gary Jennings: The Badgers might have made a charge that's a little too late. They got caught from behind with A.J. Alexander, and Shaquery Wilson is still committed to Georgia despite the possibility of being recruited over to Wisconsin by promises of playing wide receiver. So now the Badgers turn to Jennings, a 6'2, three-star prospect out of Stafford, Va.

There are two schools of thought that have made this recruiting interesting. One, Jennings has made multiple unofficial visits to in-state Virginia. Some Badger fans get cranky when it comes to those snob nerds in Charlottesville. The other is the fact that Notre Dame offered on Sept. 30. It remains to be seen if that offer is going to be of the currently committable sort, but at this point the Badgers are in the top two. They could impress. They could lose out anyway.

As it stands, if there's a fourth visitor coming, it's going to be a surprise since most of the top targets have visited, have visits scheduled in the future or are scheduled to be somewhere else. So stay tuned. Visits are always a fluid process and if anything breaks, we'll have it for you.