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Wisconsin football recruiting: LB/FB Jake Whalen commits to Badgers

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Another in-state recruit joins a restructured class of 2015 just two days before National Signing Day.

Despite losing three verbal commitments from Friday to Sunday, the weekend ended on a bright note for Wisconsin Badgers football recruiting.

Wausau, Wis. (West) linebacker/fullback Jake Whalen publicly committed to the Badgers and new head coach Paul Chryst on Sunday:

Wisconsin beat out Big Ten Conference rival Iowa for Whalen's services, though the 6'2, 220-pound recruit also received offers from Buffalo and its new head coach Lance Leipold (former of Wisconsin-Whitewater), as well as Army and Air Force. Both Ben Strickland and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph are credited with recruiting Whalen, according to 247 Sports.

The Hawkeyes initially had the edge in January, offering Whalen as a linebacker and with a full scholarship. Under former head coach Gary Andersen, the previous regime offered the three-star commit only a walk-on opportunity. That was then upgraded to a greyshirt offer under Paul Chryst. The catch with Chryst's new offer, aside from the greyshirt opportunity, was to switch back to the offensive side of the ball as a fullback.

The initial offer from the new Wisconsin regime then updated to a full ride, which seemed to seal the deal, according to Badger247's Evan Flood:

If other verbal commits hold up, Whalen will join running backs Jordan Stevenson, Davon Crookshank and Bradrick Shaw in this recruiting class in the offensive backfield alongside early enrollee quarterbacks Austin Kafentzis and Alex Hornibrook (though Crookshank's status is widely known to be ambiguous at best with the new coaching staff).

Though he was recruited as a fullback by Chryst's staff, Whalen noted to BadgerNation.com's Benjamin Worgull there may be some re-evaluation of positioning with the recent de-commitments:

"What Coach Chryst said is that they have me down as fullback/linebacker, but they said when I come in the summer, then I will do my summer lifting and workouts," said Whalen. "When camp season comes around, then they will get me my fair shot at both spots and they will put me where they best see me fit whether that be linebacker or fullback. They will put me where they need help the most and succeed the best too."

Whalen's rated as the 55th-ranked inside linebacker in the nation by 247 Sports Composite rankings -- 23rd in the nation by Scout.com.