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Wisconsin recruiting: Badgers interested in UAB running back, other skill positions

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The latest as the Badgers go twirling, forever twirling toward National Signing Day.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of Antonio Williams becoming the first piece of the 2016 class, it's been relatively quiet for the Wisconsin Badgers these past couple of weeks.

Sure, they're still after that running back for 2015. But most top targets have visited. So truth be told, we're in a bit of a holding pattern. With that, I'm going to take some time and take a look at where things stand with some top targets at the skill positions, plus an update on Christian Folau. We'll see if we can't get you learned.

CB/ATH Brian Cole

Saginaw (Hertiage), Mich.
6'2, 190 lbs.
4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit

With the recent firing of Brady Hoke, Cole's recruitment grew just gets a little more wide-open. The Saginaw (Heritage), Mich., prospect might be the last blue-chip recruit standing in the Michigan recruiting class, but that doesn't mean he isn't looking. He officially visited Nebraska and Purdue, as well as Wisconsin. The plan is that there's going to be an official visit to Ohio State eventually. However, the four-star prospect graduates from Heritage in about two weeks. He wants to enroll in January.

As it stands, the other question is what position does Cole want to play? Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue are all thinking of him as some kind of 200-touch weapon where he has the ball in his hands often. Nebraska has been recruiting him in the secondary, but with the firing of Bo Pelini, it seems as if the Huskers might not be in play here.

What does it mean for you? Cole is the Badgers' tippy-top target, and while the race seems to be opening up, the Badgers are firmly ensconced in at least hat race territory. They are the only team that wants Cole as a running back, and there's been nothing the offense has done to make it seem like a less palatable offering since his visit. Though if Cole wants to stay on his current track, the decision has to come soon.

RB Tyreik Gray

Houston (Lamar), Texas
5'11, 187 lbs.
3-star recruit3-star recruit3-star recruit

In the least-surprising visit rescheduling of the smoothest-named recruiting period (post regular-season, pre-final dead period), the four-star Houston (Lamar) running back is going to make his visit to Wisconsin the weekend of Dec. 12 instead of this weekend. If you have to ask why he can't visit this weekend... I'm sorry you were away from sports last week. Welcome back!

WR/DB Shaquery Wilson

Miami (Coral Gables Sr.), Fla.
6'3, 190 lbs.
3-star recruit3-star recruit3-star recruit

The Coral Gables, Fla., three-star prospect was the Badgers' top prospect at wide receiver. He was also a cornerback commitment to Georgia. He took his official visit to the Bulldogs this weekend, and though they lost to Georgia Tech, Wilson is off the board. This leaves one more unsigned target at wide receiver for Wisconsin.

WR Gary Jennings

Stafford (Colonial Forge), Va.
6'2, 205 lbs.
3-star recruit3-star recruit3-star recruit

The three-star athlete is scheduled to visit Notre Dame next weekend. In and of itself, that's a problem, but the wheels fell off the wagon at the end of the year. That said, Notre Dame has visited him already. West Virginia has also made a home visit, too. Not to say Wisconsin isn't planning to charge once more into the breach post-Big Ten Championship Game, but if the Badgers do truly want a receiver, it's looking likely they'll have to go to the George Rushing playbook and see if they can't get someone to visit flip city, because right now Notre Dame's the favorite, and Jennings might be more than happy to be a safety.

LB Christian Folau

Salt Lake City (East), Utah
6'1, 215 lbs.
4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit

Folau was one of the prospects on campus for the Axe Game, and it goes without saying that the visit went well. Winning tends to do that. But while the Badgers are the favorites, there are two things that are going to happen before they potentially grab the four-star inside linebacker from Salt Lake City. One, there's an official visit to Utah planned. It goes without saying there's always a chance the local school takes back the favorite slot. Two, Folau is going to have the announcement at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Jan. 4.

RB Mike Weber

Detroit (Cass Technical), Mich.
5'10, 205 lbs.
4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit

The Badgers look to be on the outside looking in for this four-star running back and Cass Tech prospect. Recent offers came to him from Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame, and at least two of them seem to have bumped the Badgers out of the race. In fact, his first official visit post-decommitting from Michigan goes to those Fighting Irish. So yeah, on to the next one.

RB Jordan Howard (UAB)

Gardendale, Ala.
6'1, 228 lbs.

One of the unfortunate things is the fact that those poor kids screwed over by UAB who want to play football are going to have to find some place else to land for next season, and they're going to have to do so quickly. Considering the Badgers' situation, you had to figure that they were going to do their due diligence on Jordan Howard. If there weren't any reasons that would preclude admission, Howard would be an intriguing fit.

After all, his 1,587 yards rushing this season were good for second in Conference USA and currently stand seventh in the FBS, and the Badgers do need a running back for next season. Howard, with a frame of 6'1, 228 pounds, would be the sort of power back that would be a success if he were to choose Madison. So, it stands to reason that the Badgers have offered here.

By offer sheet alone, the Badgers have a chance to get themselves a good back with two years of remaining eligibility. His other Power 5 offers are Indiana and Vanderbilt. He also has offers from Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky. The Badgers are still hustling hard for Jordan Stevenson and Ty'Son Williams, but obviously, watch this space.