I've always said it: recruiting is a strange, weird and ugly business. You can brace yourself for a painful run where the recruiting train sloughs off axels, passengers and careens off the tracks into a rural field.
But then, a moment like Saturday happens. You get a strong defensive line prospect in Kraig Howe and you somehow go into Alabama and get a good runner like Bradrick Shaw. It was a good day, and suddenly it looks like the mood is about to change.
Obviously, then Elu Aydon flips to Oregon State and just as suddenly the Badgers seem to slide back down the hill. It's the last week before recruiting dies out before National Signing Day. It's closing time. One last call for offers and visits. So finish your texting of cheer. Closing time. You don't have to go home, but you can't sign here.
I KNOW WHO I WANT TO TAKE ME HOME.
Sorry. Lots of reports flowing. Getting a little loopy. Let's talk 'croots.
While some prospects have received little more from the Badgers than the fadeaway as we've moved to National Signing Day, some have received the classic full-court press. Here, let's see the Badgers contingent that went to Seffner, Fla., to meet with three-star tackling machine and Wisconsin commit Jordan Griffin.
That's outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar, defensive backs coach Daronte Jones, head coach Paul Chryst, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, and defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfeld. They're going all-in to make sure Griffin stays committed. So, they know who they want.
DE Jake Pickard
Wisconsin isn't going to give up on getting Jake Pickard without a fight either. The plan is that a Griffin-like contingent of coaches was set up to visit the three-star defensive end commit on Tuesday. Though getting into and around Millburn, N.J., looks like it's going to be easier said than done over the next two days.
But there is good news here. Sure, Pickard enjoyed his visit to Michigan. That said, the key thing the Pickards were told was that Jake is the only defensive end Michigan was offering ($). Then defensive end Rueben Jones committed on Sunday.
I know what you're saying: Jim Harbaugh has always run a 3-4, and Jones looks like he's going to be a potential outside linebacker.
But Michigan offered Nebraska commit Daishon Neal (before this odd ordeal). Neal's a 6'7, 250-pound defensive end prospect out of Omaha, Neb. I'm not telling you that the Badgers are out of the woods yet in regards to Pickard, but it looks like Harbaugh might have really only offered him a window here. Recruiting? It's such a lovely business.
CB Chris Barr
There was a moment on Monday when things got interesting for Barr. The three-star cornerback prospect out of Jacksonville, Fla., had decommitted from Utah, and this was a position where the Badgers had always had a chance... except for two things. One, Barr had some receiving skills that developed in his senior season. Two:
I AM A 100% COMMITTED TO UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA AND AM SHUTTING DOWN MY RECRUITMENT ‼️ #BULLSNATION— Chris Barr (@2SmoothChris) January 26, 2015
LB/FB Joshua Thomas
The Buford, Ga., three-star prospect who made a visit to Madison over the weekend with an offer of playing linebacker decided he would rather tote the rock for Iowa State than make with the punishing tackles. It happens.
OL Sam Madden
The good news for the former Wisconsin commitment is he found a great landing spot after committing to Georgia on Sunday. It was an unfortunate end to his time in Madison, but the hoss from Barnegat, N.J., looks like he'll get to play some big-boy football.
The late charge the Badgers made for the three-star defensive tackle out of Fond Du Lac ultimately looks like it fell short, as a visit to Penn State earned the Nittany Lions a commitment. It's a good fit for Windsor, and a big need filled for a conference rival. With Aydon gone, only some gumption will change the situation.
Fond du Lac (Wisc.) High DT Robert Windsor confirms he will not visit #Badgers. He's done after committing to Penn State today.— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) January 26, 2015
RB Toren Young
Iowa's hopping in and making plays in Wisconsin for 2016. The Hawkeyes grabbed three-star Menomonie quarterback Nate Stanley last November, and the second member of their class of 2016 is the Monona Grove running back Toren Young. Young, who committed Sunday, was obviously not a target for the Badgers with the commitment of star North Carolina running back Antonio Williams. But this is a trend line that might be worth watching as National Signing Day moves into 2016. There might be a battle for Luxemburg offensive tackle Spencer Kanz coming.
LB Alec Simpson
If you're wondering whether the Badgers would still be interested in going national in 2016 and beyond, there's reason to believe the affirmative. Tibesar's first contact as UW's outside linebacker coach is Alec Simpson, a 2016 prospect from the Palisades in California.
Just had a great talk with Coach Tibesar new OLB coach at Wisconsin! #OnWisconsin ⚪️— Alec Simpson (@alecsimpson5) January 24, 2015
As it stands right now, only Nevada has offered Simpson. He does fit as a Dave Aranda linebacker -- if the offer comes from Wisconsin, it would be a good thing.
QB David Moore
We know that on Sunday, fan-favorite 2016 quarterback prospect David Moore looks like he's going to be in Madison. And while it might seem like a surprise that a dual-threat quarterback from Alpharetta, Ga., would get an offer from Paul Chryst, it would be less of an upset than one would think. Chryst found himself turning to pro-style quarterbacks with enough escapability to avoid being statuesque in the pockets with his later offers at Pitt.
I'm not saying that the Badgers could lock down a quarterback a lot of people like before the last minutes of the dead period -- if they even offer. I'm just saying that it seems as if Chryst, these days, is willing to mold quarterbacks who can move. Moore would continue that trend.