clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wisconsin football recruiting: 3 positions the Badgers need to fill for 2016

A look at key positions the Badgers need to fill for 2016.

Could Greensboro, N.C., running back and South Carolina commit C.J. Freeman flip to Wisconsin?
Could Greensboro, N.C., running back and South Carolina commit C.J. Freeman flip to Wisconsin?
Student Sports

We are now in the home stretch of recruiting for the class of 2016, and with one more NCAA-mandated dead period before the rush to National Signing Day and another January that hopefully doesn't prove that the points are made up and the commitments don't matter, there are still three positions where the Wisconsin Badgers are looking seriously at adding at least one more prospect.

That's not to say that an Alaric Jackson (offensive line) or an Isaiahh Loudermilk (defensive line) wouldn't be an automatic take, because those players are definitely position additions. But barring some kind of reasons or coaching change, there are three areas where Wisconsin could use an additional commitment.

Wide receiver: Malik Harrison officially visited Madison for the Rutgers game, and the situation looks to be static. The three-star athlete from Columbus, Ohio (Walnut Ridge), is interested in the Badgers and named UW his leader back in August, but has not committed. Why? Because Ohio State, his hometown team, has shown interest. While the Badgers wait for Harrison, that spot might be closing.

Why? Because Quintez Cephus chose football. The former Furman basketball commitment will spend at least his first year in college playing football, and by all sound logic, it's going to be at Wisconsin. After all, the Macon, Ga. (Stratford Academy), prospect only has an offer from the Badgers.

That said, there is another school that could offer and change the game. It's about 80 miles from Macon to Atlanta, and when Florida State came to town and got kick-returned into an upset from Georgia Tech, Cephus was there. Georgia Tech's been good at getting tall, athletic receivers to the NFL, so there is a perfectly legitimate reason for Cephus to go beyond some sort of moral failing by him for not recognizing Madison's greatness.

Still, the Badgers lead, and they visited him this week. If I had to make a guess, Harrison might wait too long for the spot because it goes to Cephus.

Lil'Jordan Humphrey, a young prospect with 6'4 size and athleticism as well as his production on the field, is going to be a take. There hasn't been movement; it's Cal, Texas and Wisconsin, and while Wisconsin might be trailing, Cal is in a situation where Sonny Dykes might be looking to Gary Andersen away into another job. Humphrey also has visited Texas enough times to know that experience inside and out, and Wisconsin is throwing almost 13 times more per game than Texas right now. There's a path to getting the commitment here, though there are schools to overcome.

Cornerbacks: There have been some positional moves (Caleb Kinlaw and Lubern Figaro) that should help alleviate the depth concerns of the Badgers' senior-laden class of corners, but this has a real shot to be a third consecutive season where they fall short of their on paper goals. Not to say that Ke'Shan Pennamon isn't an exciting athlete, because he is, but when your top target at the position -- Gibsonton, Fla., prospect K.J. Sails -- commits to Iowa and you move on to poaching-season offers early, you can't feel too confident as to where you stand.

With that, I like J.J. Givens a tremendous amount (whose official visit is set) and Virginia Tech commit Myles Wolfolk and Cincinnati (Colerain), three-star athlete Deshaunte Jones are also potentially promising.

Wolfolk is the more pure cornerback. He's of a similar style to Maryland commit and recent offer Parnell Motley in that he has good height, good athleticism and can absolutely leap. He recently received an offer from Maryland and took an official visit to North Carolina last weekend. Now that does show a willingness to look, and from a pure cornerback skill, he might be the most out-of-the-box ready to make a positive impact of the current prospects the Badgers have a real shot with.

As for Jones, his Hudl profile shows someone who is real explosive with the ball in his hands. He's a quarterback for Colerain, and some schools are considering him as a wide receiver.

That said, the Badgers are still in reasonably good shape for several more cornerbacks that are tall and upside-filled. Kissimmee, Fla. (Osceola), three-star prospect Carlos Becker has not committed to a program, and there's still nitro-burning upside plays like Temecula, Calif. (Linfield Christian Academy), recruit Lorenzo Burns. Missing Sails does sting, however.

Running back: Speaking of sting, Plano, Texas, three-star running back Brandon Stephens reaffirmed his commitment to Stanford. The Badgers appear to be out of the running for his services. Four-star George Hill from Hubbard, Ohio, has not committed to Michigan State yet, but the crystal balls have moved heavily for him in East Lansing next year and the word is he's going back this weekend. Katy, Texas, three-star Kyle Porter is a throwback in terms of a lack of a social media presence or news, so when or if he'll visit is unclear.

A huge grain of salt in terms of perception here, but even before the social media presence bubbled up, it was looking likely that C.J. Freeman was going to be the first of the initial offers to lead to a commitment. The Greensboro, N.C.(Northern Guilford), back has some aspects to his game that are reminiscent of the sophomore edition of Melvin Gordon, though I just heard a thunderclap near me so don't call this a comparison.

He's really good at getting to the corner and turning north-south for big gains. He'll run with determination, though he's much better outside than inside as a prospect. Under the tutelage of running backs coach John Settle, Freeman could be a complete talent quickly. Considering the depth at the position, someone whose social media is showing a strong interest in making the flip to Wisconsin could play quickly.

If the Badgers are interested in carrying two running backs after the decommitment of Antonio Williams, Wisconsin could look to a sleeper back from Florida like Brian Lankford-JohnsonJames Charles or Khalil Herbert. Otherwise, look for some more tackle-breaking runners gaining some interest like Athens, Ga. (Clarke Central), three-star JaQua Danielsor Illinois commit Kentrail Moran.