This past weekend was definitely not the best one Wisconsin has ever had in terms of roster movement, but late Sunday night (early Monday morning if you were like me and had been traveling home from a wedding all day Sunday) a shooting star of good news passed through the sky in the form of three-star running back Davon Crookshank out of Texas. Roster moves/attrition are all part of the game in college football and you usually don't have to wait very long after something bad happens for something good to come. Let's check out some of the potential good we might have in our future.
Checking in with...
Brandon Wilson: We've mentioned the Florida defensive end a few times before, and despite claims (made by Wilson) that he would commit early in July, the three-star prospect remains without a dance partner. He is still high on Wisconsin, as well as Kentucky, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, UNC and UCF, and it appears he would like to visit Madison.
I wanna take an official to wisconsin— Brandon Wilson (@Brandon_Wilson8) July 21, 2014
A little nudge from Recruiting Coordinator Kyle Penniston could be all he nee...what's that you say?
I think Wisconsin would have as good a chance as any school on his list if Wilson were to make a trip to Madison this fall. That town does something to people.
Donavan Hale: Way back in May we mentioned two youngsters who had shockingly similar offer sheets. They were Hale and his cousin/teammate, Jonathan Crawford. Hale is an interesting prospect because he has major offers in both basketball and football, and according to 247Sports, he hasn't decided ($) which one he wants to pursue. Hale doesn't have Wisconsin at the top of his list, but with the recent departure of a few wide receivers there is a definite spot for Hale on the Badgers. He comes as a package deal with Crawford, who plays another position of need, safety. I don't hold out much hope for these Florida cousins, but with a renewed need at receiver, there will probably be more of a push to get Hale on campus.
Ronnie Hoggins: Wisconsin football recruiting Twitter (a niche area, I know) was all abuzz on Monday with the news that three-star Pompano Beach, Florida, cornerback Ronnie Hoggins was going to announce his decision Tuesday night. That, uh, didn't happen.
The mysterious "circumstances" pushed his commitment date back to... well, we're not really sure. Hoggins' recruitment could turn into the main plot line for #TrueDetectiveSeason2, but right now there are rumblings that he wants to commit to Wisconsin but can't because reasons. Some say academics while others say he was just trying to "reserve a spot" on the Badgers' list. Recruiting can be a confusing game to follow, much like The King in Yellow, but it appears that Hoggins will eventually be committing to UW, even if that doesn't really mean much to either party. Additional pop culture reference so the kids know I'm hip.
Kamron Johnson: Wisconsin offered a two-star safety/running back/athlete ($) out of Tempe, Arizona, early this week in the hopes of shoring up the safety position for the coming seasons. Johnson has already been offered by UNLV, Wyoming, South Dakota State and Montana with the two Arizona schools expressing interest. His Hudl highlight film is split about 60/40 between offense and defense, but he looks like a safety who is unafraid to play in the box and lay a hit on someone. As the most prestigious school to offer so far, look for Wisconsin to be in the discussion for Johnson until the very end.
A trio of guys that Wisconsin had interest in pledged allegiance to other schools. Richard Burney (tight end, Chesapeake, Virginia) decided to stay home and go to UVA. He camped in Madison this summer (and left without an offer), but the Badgers are pretty well stocked at tight end. Ben Humphreys (four-star linebacker, Santa Ana, California), a teammate of Penniston, had an offer from the Badgers but decided to continue his playing days at Duke. He was originally mentioned by BlackPack-fan back in April. I can't even imagine the stink he'll get from Penniston for not choosing Wisconsin. Last but not least, Felton Davis III (three-star receiver, Highland Springs, Virginia) picked Michigan State over UW. Davis visited East Lansing on Monday and somehow came away impressed. While he would have been nice to get given the recent departures, the Badgers were never serious contenders for Davis' services.
Basketball quick hitters
This past weekend saw Bo Ryan take in multiple games that Henry Ellenson played in down in Augusta, Georgia. The Badgers are putting the full-court press (basketball term!) on for Ellenson to try and get him to stay home. There are even national sites picking up stories about Rice Lake's finest. CBS Sports has a post that compares Ellenson to Dirk Nowitzki, which, if memory serves, is a good thing.
The basketball team has also made an offer to four-star power forward Esa Ahmad out of Cleveland. He is a heavy Ohio State lean, but said over the weekend that he didn't have any favorites currently.
I'm still very open on colleges just waiting till the end of July— Esa Ahmad (@IDoIt_Nike23) July 19, 2014
Maryland, Indiana, Clemson, Virginia, Xavier and others have all offered the 6'7, 218-pound senior-to-be. 247Composite has him ranked as the 59th-best player in the class of 2015. The Badgers have been so focused on their in-state talent (probably the best class in the last decade, if not ever) that this offer comes a little late in the game. It's good that Ahmad is open to new schools (and the Badgers have been watching him for a couple of years, just hadn't offered until this week), but there may be too much ground to catch up for UW to be a major player in his recruitment.
Unrelated personal side note
With the football season fast approaching, a new feature that I had discussed with Mike is starting is a Beer Preview each week before games. In it, I would highlight a local beer of the team we were playing against so that we could perhaps set up some sort of taste test against the finest beers Wisconsin has to offer. It would also be really educational, believe that. Would anyone be interested in this? Either way, I'll still be drinking.