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Wisconsin football recruiting: Badgers in the thick of several races

Updates on Kahlil McKenzie, Nick Thomas, and more, plus a couple of new offers.

Concord, Calif., defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie.
Concord, Calif., defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie.
Student Sports

This week was moderately eventful considering the commitment of David Pfaff. The Theinsville, Wisconsin, native is UW's first defensive commitment for 2015, and he was a relatively surprising addition at this early juncture.

Where else do the Badgers stand with 2015 and 2016 commits? Let's take a look.

Catching up with...

Kahlil McKenzie: Following an outstanding performance at the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp last Sunday, McKenzie is now a five-star prospect and the No. 10 overall prospect in the 2015 class, according to 247 Sports. SB Nation's Wescott Eberts caught up with McKenzie out in Oakland, and the defensive tackle elaborated on the "top five' he recently named, including the Badgers.

Less than a month ago, McKenzie named a top five of the Arizona Widlcats, Tennessee Volunteers, Oklahoma Sooners, Wisconsin Badgers, and USC Trojans.

On Sunday, he backed off of that stance a little bit, perhaps in part because several schools have recently entered the competition for his services.

"It's more like a top 12 with five schools that are really standing out," he said. "Now that I've taken the last couple of visits, I have to go back in and really look at some of the schools. So really I have more of a top 12 of schools that I'm looking at right now."

Those recent visits include trips to Arizona, Arizona State, Tennessee, UCLA, and Oregon.

This week's recruiting notebooks: Wednesday Monday

Thursday, McKenzie named Tennessee his favorite. Wisconsin ranks fourth on his current list, and McKenzie said that "unless something pops," he'll wait to announce his college decision until National Signing Day.

Nick Thomas: Andrew introduced us to Thomas earlier this week, and did so with a disclaimer that might preclude Badgers fans from getting too amped about bringing in the inside linebacker from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The first offer advantage should go a long way here, but Thomas is a native of Kansas. The siren song of the other large misnomer conference could well bring him further west than we'd like.

Well, after receiving his first offer (Wisconsin's), Thomas expressed some needle-moving excitement. To, Thomas said the offer was unexpected, but only because he felt "a school like Wisconsin was out of reach for me." He said he plans on visiting Madison sometime this summer. Highlights of Thomas are available on his Hudl profile.

Brendan Loftus: Wisconsin offered Loftus, a rangy offensive tackle from Tallahassee, Florida, last week. Tuesday, he opened up to 247 ($), dropping the "O-line U" line fans love to hear. You can see Loftus' mobility on display in his Hudl highlights, which make him seem perfect for run blocking in Wisconsin's offense. UW faces competition from Miami, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, Syracuse and TCU, all of whom have already offered. Florida and Florida State are also showing interest in Loftus, who will likely be tempted by even more in-state offers. For now, though, the Badgers are in healthy shape here.

Basketball Recruiting

Jordan Scarlett: Several reports pegged Wisconsin coaches as expected attendees at St. Thomas Aquinas' (Florida) spring game on Thursday, and we're still waiting for confirmation on that. Regardless, Scarlett impressed with a 58-yard touchdown run and it's clear the Badgers would love to haul in him. 247 is going as far as to characterize Scarlett as UW's 2015 version of Joe Mixon, so if there wasn't enough temptation around the 5'10, 197-pound running back, there you go. SB Nation's Bud Elliott has his own scouting report of Scarlett, and it's very favorable.

There is quite a bit to like about Scarlett.

I have heard some say that he does not have good speed. I disagree. He has very good size for a player entering his senior season, and he posted a 4.48 40-yard dash at the Miami Nike Camp, which is fantastic given the turf surface. To put that in perspective, more than 50 eventual FBS-level players attended the camp, and Miami is probably the fastest recruiting city in the country, and only one player on the day posted a better time. And that is consistent with what I timed him at during a combine in 2012.

Cameron Smith: The Granite Bay, California, linebacker committed to USC on Wednesday, choosing the Trojans over UCLA and Wisconsin, among others. We first discussed Smith back in April, and he said as recently as early Wednesday that his top five would include at least those three schools. Smith's commitment to USC seems firm at this moment, so Wisconsin will have to look elsewhere for inside linebackers.

New names

Dylan Kane
6'2, 180 pounds
Honolulu, Hawaii
3-star recruit3-star recruit3-star recruit

Beginning with Micah Kapoi in the 2014 class and continuing in 2015, Wisconsin's staff under Gary Andersen has maintained an interest in Hawaii. Dylan Kane is the latest Aloha State prospect the Badgers have offered, and they're already in the lead for him ($). Defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a is chasing the Honolulu safety, who also has offers from Hawaii and Nevada. Wisconsin's BCS status is an obvious draw for Kane, though he's also drawing interest from BYU, California, Colorado, Utah State and Washington State, so the picture could change here before long. That said, Wisconsin's early interest has already established a strong connection with Kane, and he could be occupying a role similar to Michael Caputo's in UW's backfield before long.

TE/DE Naseir Upshur (2016)
6'3, 231 pounds
Philadelphia (Imhotep Institute), Pa.
4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit4-star recruit

Wisconsin offered this Philadelphia tight end earlier this week after visiting him in the spring. Upshur is currently the No. 5 tight end in the 2016 class, and he already holds offers from Arizona State, Arizona, Cincinnati, UConn, Illinois, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and several other schools. His Hudl highlights are available here, and you can see why he's already in high demand.