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Wisconsin recruiting: Updates on football, basketball targets Alex Illikainen, Charlie Thomas, Isaac James, more

Three-star cornerback Isaac James.
Three-star cornerback Isaac James.
Student Sports

I know. You're probably thinking, "Rosin's gonna bring us some false hope because Rosin has absolutely nothing negative beyond exasperation when it comes to the world of recruiting." And you might be tired of that.

First of all, I am offended by my own straw-man argument. You know I've been nothing but honest with you, and I'll drop some honesty again ... both good and otherwise.

This weekend's visitors

This weekend is one that seems like it's going to be a lot more important to the fortunes of the basketball team than the football team. As I write this, the only two planned football visitors are Chris Orr and Kevin Estes, and they're already committed. Sure, there are probably going to be a few unofficial visits, and maybe a high-upside grayshirt or walk-on like Zack Baun will take a trip for Saturday's game vs. Bowling Green. As such, there might not be an interesting prospect coming this week in football.

In basketball? The hustle to get a commitment from Alex Illikainen has a chance to pay off for the Badgers. His planned visit for this weekend is still happening, and with a top two of Iowa and Wisconsin, the Badgers are looking to close the deal fast. The other visitor is Charlie Thomas, a 6'7, 240-pound, three-star power forward from Clarksville, Maryland. He brings something different to the table than your typical Badger power forward: he works hard on the glass and has the strength to finish second-chance opportunities.

Offensively, Thomas is coming in raw, but the combination of high energy and rebounding is something that could very well quickly get him big minutes on the floor. As it stands, the Badgers haven't offered, and Thomas plans on visiting Rutgers and DePaul in later weeks. The Badgers are still a good distance ahead of the best offers, and one of their own could close the deal.

Future visitors

Isaac James: The next likely commit for Wisconsin has widely been perceived as three-star Florida linebacker Jordan Griffin, and he's coming to Madison next Saturday. But there's always been a case that James, a three-star athlete from Indiana, was looking to commit quickly. He's one of those prospects who on athleticism alone looks like could be very interesting for what the Badgers want to do. James is also coming to Madison on Sept. 27 and bringing his folks with him.

If you're unnaturally skittish, yes, Ohio State made a visit to Carmel High School to talk to James. But the Buckeyes didn't offer, and unless his visit to Madison goes horribly next weekend, I don't expect the Badgers to miss out on closing the deal.

Bradrick Shaw: Here's an interesting prospect, and not just because he's an Alabama man -- though being a three-star prospect from Hoover does give him an interesting amount of cachet. What's more interesting is that he has good vision for the cutback lane and he can run with a surprising amount of power for a taller back.

As it stands, the Badgers are back to having multiple targets at the running back position again. Is Shaw an automatic take? At this point, I don't know. But if he wants to commit after visiting on the 27th, he's definitely a good back.

Shaquery Wilson: Originally scheduled for the 20th, this Georgia commit and Wisconsin's likely No. 1 target at wide receiver decided to join the burgeoning party visiting on the 27th instead. The only thing it changes is that the Badgers are going to have a stew of prospects going for that game.

Elu Aydon and Olive Sagapolu: Both defensive tackle prospects are planning on making a visit for the Oct. 25 Maryland game. What does this mean? For one, the Badgers are probably not going to have a play for the nose tackle slot until then. For two, there are rumors that tight end commit Kyle Penniston might either make a second visit or switch out of the Sept. 27 game. Either way, Sagapolu is going to get the full-court press for that game.

As for Aydon? Not to call the American Samoa some mysterious place filled with Tatupu's and guys who grow up to be WWE stars, but it's a long distance away from Madison and visits are fluid. There may be some sort of Three's Company-esque race to get a commitment from these nose tackles, but of course that's how it goes in the wild, wild west. Heck, they might even try and get cute, and ace themselves out of both.

But that's for later.

Updates on...

Ke'Shawn Vaughn: So remember when I said that Vanderbilt's slow start was causing some problems with prospects with whom the deal seemed closed? With Vaughn, Wisconsin had a chance to swoop in and get a four-star Nashville running back. Those plans were thrown a curveball when Tennessee offered. In-state, checkerboard end zone, Rocky Top Tennessee -- you can understand why Vaughn's listening. Not to say the Badgers are out, but what was once a top-three is now a top-four.

Jalen Julius: In July, the Badgers made a late offer to Julius, a three-star cornerback and an athlete from Florida with a 4.31-second 40-time. Then the news about Julius turned radio-silent. Louisville has been the favorite, but that's about it ... at least, until Julius made plans for a November visit to Wisconsin ($) for the Nebraska game. Now, that's a long way away, and there's a real chance the Badgers won't have a space available by then (with James being a favorite and FAU commit Rashard Causey being a take), but you have to figure that even if the Badgers have both commit, a moment of attrition (which would likely happen) would probably give Julius a spot for 2015 if he wants it.

Russell Ude: Ude's an intriguing three-star defensive lineman from Atlanta and he already has some big visits lined up. I mean, no one's going to sniff at Oregon if they're saying come on out and visit. Ude's planning on going to Eugene on Nov. 1. The good news? He's still interested enough to want to visit Wisconsin ($). As it stands, there are some real good offers on his list that could take the visit. But the Badgers being in on Ude's upside is definitely a good thing.

New offer

RB Reggie Gallaspy
5'11, 205 lbs.
Greensboro (Southern Guilford), N.C.
3-star recruit3-star recruit3-star recruit

In terms of running back offers, Reggie Gallaspy isn't one with the pedigree of a Jordan Scarlett or a Chris Warren, but there's a lot to like here. You look at his Hudl profile and you see that Gallaspy runs hard and has that vision thing to turn a 2-yard gain into a 6-yard gain, and a 6-yard gain into a 16. He's not going to be a breakaway sort of back, but Arkansas and N.C. State coaches have given him that Montee Ball comparison and it doesn't seem completely far-fetched.

As it stands, the Badgers have a real chance here. With Melvin Gordon likely gone after this year and no freshman healthy enough to take the role of blowout hammer, there's a path to the field and carries to be had in 2015. Of course, they have to beat out Arkansas, who really wants him, as well as the research triangle siren call of Duke and N.C. State.

Gallaspy has been dominating his high school competition so far this season. Through four games, he has 1,054 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. If the Badgers end up with him, sure you can feel disappointed that a four-star Jordan Scarlett passed the Badgers by. But Gallaspy's a real good running back. He's got a thunder to him.